Why is Bp Melchizedek Visiting 79th Street all of a Sudden?

When I started Monomakhos, I had no idea how dire things within the OCA were, at least on the national level. Thanks to the archpastorate of the late +Dmitri of Dallas, we were largely (almost completely) immune from the contretemps, gaucheries, and outright silliness that characterized the rest of the OCA throughout its short history.

When we became aware how bad things were, we cast aside our worries with the election of our new Metropolitan. On one level, much good has come out of +Jonah’s election. I’m sure more good will continue to come. Already, two new bishops of sterling reputation have been elected to fill the seats of two men who were compromised and died tragic, unnecessary deaths. Both of the new bishops are widowers and true monks who have not hesitated to act when it became necessary to uphold the moral vision of the Orthodox Church.

However, there remain a set number of bishops who have continued to act in a reactionary manner against +Jonah, trying as much as possible to uphold the old order. What follows does not cheer Monomakhos in any way because it brings disrepute not only on the men in question (which, as a Christian, is very hurtful to me), but the entire Church as well. In fact, this is probably the most difficult posting that I have yet made. Much thought and prayer have gone into it as the information which I am about to reveal is explosive. (I ask for prayers for all involved, myself included.)

One of the bishops I am talking about is +Melchizedek Pleska, presently of Pittsburgh. It has come to our attention that there are enough canonical irregularities to render his election as bishop null and void. We have had in our possession for several months now documents from monasteries and diocesan offices in Greece which paint an unflattering picture of the putative bishop and the manner in which he returned to America. They were sent to me by a source in Greece. (Because of the sensitive nature of these documents, I will not publish them electronically but will send them if asked via registered mail to any diocesan bishops who requests them.)

But first a little history. I started experiencing some concern about His Grace when earlier this year, his partisans at OCANews started going after the so-called DC Nuns. Much calumny was heaped upon these ladies for no apparent reason. This was personally distressing to me because I happen to know one of the nuns and she is a delightful and godly woman. Needless to say, eyebrows were raised, especially when OCANews started piling on and leading a crusade to get them deported back to Greece. Later I found out that then-Archimandrite +Melchizedek was their chaplain while in Greece. Something didn’t add up. There was nothing about these nuns, both as a sisterhood and as individuals that necessitated such concern. Fortunately for them and American Orthodoxy, OCANews failed in their efforts to return them to Greece. As is known, His Beatitude released them to ROCOR, where they now have safe canonical harbor while living in this country.

The question seems to be, why did this urgency to get rid of these fine ladies, especially since they had been so close to +Melchizedek for many years? Also, why did this same bishop feel the need to take over as “Interim Chancellor” of the OCA and keep the former Chancellor on staff even though the Holy Synod fired him? A reasonable case could certainly be made that these actions were taken in order to control the flow of information and sequester any documents which might shed more light on these and other matters.

As I mentioned above, the answer to these questions came to me several months ago from a source in Greece. It appears that after a less-than-illustrious career in the United States as a parish priest, +Pleska moved to Greece to become a monastic. While at one monastery, he became involved in some type of controversy the details of which are opaque to me. Because of the ill will which this controversy caused, he left without seeking a canonical release from his Elder. In any event, his Elder has only asked for his repentance and all would be put aright. Unfortunately, he has (so far) refused this kind offer. Regardless whether he was justified or not in his actions at the first monastery, the uncanonical nature of his leaving nullifies all future appointments, honors or ordinations. What we are talking here is nothing less than ecclesiastical bigamy.

The nuns it seems are acutely aware of this.

As to why Monomakhos did not publish these documents when they first came to our attention, I can only say because the gravity of the charge merited much investigation. I also felt that nothing good would come out of this and as he was already elected as bishop, then it was a fait accompli. Perhaps in due time he would repent and turn out to be a good bishop. In other words, I listened to the voice of expedience rather than principle. In addition, the bishop’s health has not been good as of late and on a purely human level, I feel for him. And as I indicated, because of my concern for the nuns I was gratified that at least there were now safe. To put not too fine of a point on it, I was willing to let sleeping dogs lie.

Unfortunately, recent events have forced my hand. It appears that the situation is now dangerously close to spiraling out of control. Indeed, nothing less than the autocephaly of the OCA is at stake. Simply put, the irregularities involved are of such gravity that they have now drawn in the GOA -and by extension–the Patrarichate of Constantinople,* into this mess.

According to my sources within the GOA, both His Grace and Fr Alexander Garklavs (the recently fired Chancellor of the OCA) recently paid a visit to the GOA’s headquarters on 79th Street, basically as supplicants. This is not the first time that both men made an overture to the GOA. Moreover, they are acting with Syosset’s full knowledge (and probably upon their directive). The nature of their visit has to do with asking the GOA to use its good offices to somehow normalize this uncanonical situation. Perhaps by importuning on his former Elder to grant him the canonical release or by invoking the prerogatives of Constantinople.

This overture to the GOA began at the last Episcopal Assembly, when +Melchizedek and Garklavs broke all protocol and went directly to Archhishop +Demetios of the GOA and asked for a personal audience. +Demetrios was offended by this breach and reprimanded them accordingly. With the passage of a few months months however, it appears that the GOA was willing to allow him to come to 79th Street to plead their case.

It is unknown where things stand between the GOA and +Melchizedek at present but these same sources inform me that the situation is so desperate that many options are being considered, all of them redounding to the benefit of the Phanar. Rumors abound that in return for his normalization, Syosset is willing to “re-imagine” the autocephaly of the OCA. Some hope that under this new scenario, +Jonah will be replaced and the autocephaly of the OCA will be viewed as a dead letter.

I realize that in certain precincts of OCA, the idea of Syosset willingly trading the autocephaly of the OCA for some type of recognition from Constantinople is preposterous. Yet such talk has been intensifying these last few months from various quarters. The present director of External Affairs has even been heard saying such things to some of his associates. The sweetener of course for some people would be +Jonah’s removal. We must never forget, that +Jonah has been –and continues to be–a threat to the settled, Syosset way of doing things.

As to those of my readers who care about the autocephaly of the OCA (regardless of what we think about +Jonah personally), we should be very concerned. In fact, every lay member and priest of the OCA who is concerned about the future of the OCA should contact Syosset and/or their bishop and get them on the record. They should specifically ask if there is some agreement between the OCA and the GOA which will in some way ecclesially diminish the status of the OCA and/or the status of our Metropolitan. It is important that those members of the OCA who are paying good money to go to Seattle for the AAC know ahead of time what lies in the future and where their bishops stand on these vital issues.

*Editor’s Note: I have been informed that there is no such thing as an “Ecumenical Patriarchate” hence I am changing the wording in this and all future posts. Instead, the correct locution is the “Patriarchate of Constantinople.” This is because there is no patriarchate with universal jurisdiction (Rome included).


  1. George,

    Are you saying that the OCA Bishop of Pittsburgh came to the OCA under false pretenses? That he fabricated his status in Greece so he could come to the OCA to be a bishop? Those are serious charges. Is it safe to say the documents you have in your possession make such a scenario not only plausible but in fact the truth?

    Is this why +Jonah was so against the consecration of +Melchizedek? Did he know of these irregularities or was he duped too? Is that why +Melchizedek has been apparently hostile to +Jonah?

    Let us pray that the OCA Holy Synod did not know anything about this and that the damage, if true, is confined to +Melchizedek alone and the necessary actions can be taken to correct this.

  2. I think I’m going to be sick. Ignoring the whole issue with the threat against the OCA’s autocephaly, this is just disgusting. How did Bishop Melchisedek get elected without resolving these issues one way or the other?

    How rich is it that the DC nuns were accused of having come to America without a release? How do you like wearing this shoe now, Bishop Melchisedek?

    Awhile back, I expressed my fear that if the MP made good on the threat to de-recognize bishops who acted uncanonically against Met. Jonah, the Bishop Benjamin/Melchisedek faction might go EP.

    Maybe I’ve been veering in the wrong direction by assuming that Stokoe et al. are irrevocably committed to the OCA’s autocephaly. Maybe they’re just irrevocably committed to episcopal authority that lets them pretend to be Orthodox while doing whatever they want. Or whatever it is that they’re after. I need a drink.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Well, Helga, I did forget to mention the whole http://www.Romfea.gr angle. Thanks for bringing that up. It’s yet another piece of the puzzle –how that website that “broke” the story of +Jonah being forced to resign while the HS was still in session in Santa Fe. Clearly, they were being fed story manufactured by the Stokovites –yet another exercise in wishful reporting so to speak.

      Basically, what seems to be the case is that the Stokovites are willing to trade the autocephaly of the OCA to the EP provided that if they axe +Jonah, their egregious act will be recognized. Why this hasn’t happened is because: (1) they’ve failed in their attempt, and (2) Moscow stepped in and said if they did, then the OCA would be de-recognized by them. If this happens, this will turn into a game of chicken between Istanbul and Moscow. I think Istanbul will lose.

      I’d like to know how all those critics of +Jonah (and you know who you are) who criticized him because he supposedly failed to toe the “autocephaly-uber–alles line will feel if the Stokovite faction (two bishops/liberal priests/Syosset) have been working feverishly behind the scenes to undermine that which they revere.

      Next week sometime, I’m gonna comment on the latest batch of releases from Wikileaks, which show that the Phanar is being used by the State Dept in a game of brinksmanship with Moscow. More will come out later when it’s found out that George Soros is a major financier of the Phanar.

    • Helga, I am sick too! But what I think we are watching is Melchizedek making an effort to sort out the bits and pieces that might keep him from becoming the man in the white hat come Oct.
      Add to that, who better to accompany him than Garklavs?
      These guys know no shame and will cut any kind of deal it takes, to get where THEY THINK this should end. Never mind the Lords intention.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Hegla, I’m glad you brought the autocephaly angle up. As I have mentioned to others in the past, I had a gut feeling that the jihad against +Jonah was never about autocephaly and that some of his antagonists were willing to sell out the OCA for a price. Let’s not forget that when I first broached the subject of a Lavender Mafia within the OCA I also mentioned that there existed such a cabal within the precincts of the Phanar and that ours and theirs’ were working in tandem.

      Let’s also not forget that yesterday, Clinton’s policy of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell lapsed. Now not only can homosexuals openly serve in the military but they are pushing for acceptance of “gay marriage.” How will Christian chaplains have to react now when a homsexual couple comes to them for “marital counseling”? This is the end-result of what the liberals within the Orthodox jurisdictions want. Make no mistake of it. There is nothing “tolerant” and “live and let live” about this.

  3. George–It was widely reported that the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania ran its hierarchical search and nomination process in accordance with established procedures. This included the vetting of each candidate by the Holy Synod. It seems to me that the vetting of candidates to the episcopacy would be covered under the unanimity clause of Canon 34 as would the election of the new bishop. Do you have any information on how that was handled?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Carl, yes, it was “reported” as such. Who told us this? Why, I think it was OCANews! The font of all truth and journalistic integrity.

      • Well, OCAN reportage tracked every other source, to include the following official OCA release:

        “June 30, 2009
        Archimandrite Melchisedek [Pleska] consecrated Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
        PITTSBURGH, PA [OCA Communications]
        On Saturday, June 27, 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America consecrated Archimandrite Melchisedek [Pleska] Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania at Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Allison Park, PA.

        The Consecration was preceded on Friday evening, June 26, with the Rite of Nomination and Proclamation, also held at the cathedral.

        His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek was born Thomas Alexander Pleska in Dayton OH, on August 20, 1942. His father, Alexander Peter Pleska, was born near Brest-Litovsk, Belarus, and immigrated with his parents to the US in 1925. His mother Johanna [Eugenia Stachuk] Pleska was born in Cleveland, OH, of Ukrainian immigrant parents, and baptized in Saint Theodosius Cathedral.

        At the time of his birth and childhood, there there was no Orthodox parish in Dayton. He and his sister received their Christian formation in local Protestant parishes, but were taken to the “Russian” Church in Cleveland for important holy days and other visits. It was as an adult that Father Melchisedek describes himself as becoming a member in the Orthodox Church at Christ the Saviour Church, Cincinnati, OH, under the pastorship of Father Daniel Rentel.

        After graduating from high school, he first attended the University of Michigan School of Music and then Miami University, Oxford, OH, where he completed a BA with a major in philosophy. At the time, he had aspirations to pursue doctoral studies and enter the teaching field. Instead, he he entered the business world, first at a stock brokerage and later in real estate.

        In the early 1980s, he enrolled at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, from which he received the Master of Divinity degree. Under the deanship of Protopresbyter John Meyendorff, he was encouraged to consider ordination. Through several encounters with monastic spiritual fathers, including Elder Dionysios of the Simono-Petras Monastery on Mount Athos and Archimandrite Dimitry [Egouroff], a monk of Old Valaam, he accepted the call to monasticism after ordination.

        He was ordained to the diaconate on November 21, 1985, on the Great Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, by His Grace, Bishop Job. On March 25, 1986, on the Great Feast of the Annunciation, he was ordained to the priesthood by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius.

        In the fall of 1986, he accepted the position of Instructor of Dogmatic Theology at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. In addition to teaching, he served as chaplain at Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, Otego NY, and as interim pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Pottstown, PA; Saint Michael Church, Old Forge, PA; and Saint Basil Church, Simpson, PA. It was also at this time that he made acquaintance with the Elder Sophrony and his monastery in Essex, England.

        From 1989 to 1998, he served as rector of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Meriden, CT.

        In 1998, he traveled to Greece, where he served at the Monastery of the Holy Cross, an international women’s community in Thebes. In 2003, he was transferred to serve as chaplain at the women’s monastery of Saint George the Great Martyr and to serve his own brotherhood at the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Petras.

        In 2004, he was tonsured to the Great Schema, taking the name Melchisedek, and elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.

        On April 2, 2009, Archimandrite Melchisedek was elected Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.

        He returned to the US during Great Lent 2009, where he celebrated Holy Week and Pascha in parishes of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, began to familiarize himself with the diocese’s parishes and institutions, and took on administrative duties in the diocese.”


        Here are the reports by Stokoe and I do not see any hint whatsoever that proper procedures had not been followed. I did not abridge these two posts as I would like folks to have a chance to read them and see for themselves.


        Fr. Melchizedek Nominated on First Ballot In WPA

        Only one name will be sent forward to the OCA Synod of Bishops from the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania’s Special Assembly, held this afternoon, as its nominee to replace the late Archbishop Kyrill as Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. After a months-long search process that involved the whole diocese, Archimandrite Melchizedek (Pleska) received two-thirds of the votes of the assembled delegates (54 out of 81) on the first ballot, outdistancing both Fr. David Mahaffey and Fr. Juvenaly (Repass) who each received 12 votes. According to reports from those present, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia, locum tenens of the diocese, who presided over the Special Assembly, seemed surprised by the clear, decisive vote of the delegates – as were most of the delegates themselves. As one witness at the Special Assembly, who was also present at the 15th All-American Council in Pittsburgh this past week for the “surprise” election of Metropolitan Jonah, stated: “I am stunned. It has been an altogether extraordinary week. I guess the Holy Spirit didn’t take the weekend off…”

        The Synod must now hold an election to confirm or reject the nominee at one of its upcoming meetings. The Synod next gathers at the end of December, in Washington DC, for the installation of Metropolitan Jonah.

        Fr. Melchizedek, who is in his mid-sixties, has been a monk in a monastery in Greece for the past decade. A former parish priest in the OCA (known before his tonsure as Fr. Tom Pleska), Fr. Melchizedek is a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and a former dogmatics instructor at St. Tikhon’s Seminary who entered the priesthood following a career in business as an appraiser in his family’s real estate firm in Beavercreek, Ohio. As there were no Orthodox parishes in southern Ohio during his youth, his family would often take the long train ride to Cleveland for Pascha – but their weekly spiritual home was in a local Lutheran congregation. Once an OCA mission opened in Cincinnati in the early 1970’s Pleska was chrismated, and so began his journey to Crestwood, South Canaan, parishes throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New England, Greece and now, it seems, back to the Midwest.”


        Names of W PA Candidates Disclosed

        The names of two candidates for Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania have been revealed in an article published today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In speaking of the forthcoming All- American Council to be held in Pittsburgh next month, Post-Gazette journalist Ann Rodgers writes: “The two candidates for archbishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania are the Rev. David Mahaffey, a native of Mahaffey, Clearfield County, and a parish priest in Pottstown, Montgomery County; and Archimandrite Melchisedek, who was born Thomas Pleska in Dayton, Ohio, and is now at a monastery in Greece.”

        The Candidates

        Fr. Mahaffey is a Lecturer in Comparative Theology at St.Tikhon’s Seminary in addition to his parish duties. He is also an auditor of both the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania and the OCA. In an August 2006 article, entitled “Why Adopt a Seminarian?”, wrtten for the OCA Handbook, Fr. David spoke of his mid-life change in career that brought him, a family man with a wife and four children, to St. Tikhon’s Seminary. Fr. David’s wife, Karen, passed away in August 2007. Mahaffery is now in his mid-fifties.

        Archimandrite Melchizedek, better known in the OCA as Fr. Tom Pleska, was also ordained after a career in business, and was also an instructor at St. Tikhon’s, lecturing in Dogmatic Theology. Pleska served for more than a decade as a parish priest in both the Eastern Pennsylvania and New England dioceses. Never married, Pleska entered the monastic life 10 years ago in Greece. Formerly chaplain to an international women’s monastery in central Greece, he is now assisting in the rebuilding of a formerly abandoned 16th century men’s monastery and serving as its confessor.

        Both official candidates (as well as other potential candidates who were not nominated by the Diocesan Council, which served as the official nominating committee) have visited the diocese for interviews and speaking engagements with clergy and laity this past year. Each visited with clergy and laity in the deaneries, with the Diocesan Council, and answered lengthy questions about their vision for the Diocese. A special Diocesean Assembly is scheduled to meet on November 15th this year, immediately following the All-American Council, to officially nominate one, or both, of these men as the new Bishop. Other names could be nominated from the floor, as well. One name, or two, will then be sent to the OCA’s Synod of Bishops for election, which will most likely take place at the end of the year, with an enthronement presided over by the new Metropolitan in the beginning of the new year. ”

        • Carl, as I’ve said repeatedly, the nature of these documents in toto is equivocal. I’ve seen some that are crystal-clear that everything was copacetic. I’ve seen others that are less-than-copacetic. And as I’ve also said repeatedly: as long as he was elected by the HS it’s OK with me.

          My problem remains: if everthing was hunky-dory, then what did he (or his partisans, especially your beau ideal, Mark Stokoe) have against these nuns? Why the ferocity of the attacks against them? Why the dire need to deport them back to Greece? Especially if these nuns were in the Archdiocese of Washington? You know, supposedly +Jonah’s diocese. Please answer these questions for us. There’s got to be a simple answer.

          Can you answer these questions for me?

          • Now George, this is a nice way to sidestep the main issue that you brought to us. What I got from your article was that the dealings with the EP were to regularize the status of +Mel whom your source(s) accused of being AWOL. You also intimated that it was this supposed irregularity that was behind +Mel’s opposition to the nuns staying in the OCA. It turns out that you or somebody else on Monomakhos had published the canonical release of +Mel, proving beyond any doubt that your sources were wrong. Honestly George, how can you criticize Stokoe when you were literally sitting on the truth about his status, which I uncovered within 30 minutes via Google?

            So, if the major premise is wrong, what does deductive logic say about the conclusion? Wrong also. I suspect that you were taken for a ride either by your sources or your incredible hostility toward the good bishop.

            • Carl, the egregious actions against the nuns is not me “sidestepping the issue.” It very much is a huge part of the issue. Investigation into this incident alone demands scrutiny. If you can’t see that then let me spell it out:

              1. is it Christian for a bishop or a central bureaucracy to act in such an egregious manner against innocent women?

              2. Is it canonical for a bishop of one diocese to interfere in another bishop’s diocese?

              (Hint: these are “yes or no” questions.) If you are so inclined, do you think I am justified in asking what it is about these nuns that so exercised certain people? That requires a “yes or no” response as well.

              I guess ultimately what I am trying to say is that as usual your eloquence is lost on me. Google did not give you all the documents. That being said, I wrote in the piece and have answered more than once to you and other correspondents, that I was more than willing to let matters stand where they were. What I am NOT willing to do is give anybody –priest, bishop or layman–a pass when it comes to possible side-deals being worked out to the detriment of the OCA.

              Carl, I’ve taken a lot of heat from some very fine people on this blog about +Jonah’s supposed squishiness (and hence mine) regarding the concept of autocephaly-uber-alles. I dare say that you yourself would not want to subjugate the OCA to second-class status within the Phanar. So why are you willing to give the anti-+Jonah jihadists a pass when they are probably actively contemplating this same scenario?

              It’s a simple question. Please don’t bring up Canon 34. It’s not germane. (And it certainly won’t be if the OCA comes under the Phanar.)

              • I would be outraged if anybody would throw our autocephaly away for anything other than for an administratively united Autocephalous Orthodox Church of the United States of America. But, I repeat myself and you know that this has been my consistent position.

                That said, you have built your entire case on one bit of evidence:

                “It has come to our attention that there are enough canonical irregularities to render his (Bishop Melchisedek’s) election as bishop null and void.” As I showed below, this is completely false as documented by your site in 2008. As an aside, nobody has commented on it as yet. I suppose everybody is checking and double checking?

                Next comes a conjecture, that is backed up by NO evidence:

                “I started experiencing some concern about His Grace when earlier this year, his partisans at OCANews started going after the so-called DC Nuns…The question seems to be, why did this urgency to get rid of these fine ladies, especially since they had been so close to +Melchizedek for many years? Also, why did this same bishop feel the need to take over as “Interim Chancellor” of the OCA and keep the former Chancellor on staff even though the Holy Synod fired him? A reasonable case could certainly be made that these actions were taken in order to control the flow of information and sequester any documents which might shed more light on these and other matters.” To reiterate, there is no evidence presented to back up the foregoing conjecture.

                However, the author now reinforces the first charge:

                “As I mentioned above, the answer to these questions came to me several months ago from a source in Greece. It appears that after a less-than-illustrious career in the United States as a parish priest, Archimandrite +Pleska moved to Greece to become a monastic. While at one monastery, he became involved in some type of controversy the details of which are opaque to me. Because of the ill will which this controversy caused, he left without seeking a canonical release from his Elder. In any event, his Elder has only asked for his repentance and all would be put aright. Unfortunately, he has (so far) refused this kind offer. Regardless whether he was justified or not in his actions at the first monastery, the uncanonical nature of his leaving nullifies all future appointments, honors or ordinations. What we are talking here is nothing less than ecclesiastical bigamy.” However, as I said before the Bishop of Pittsburgh was indeed canonically released by his Elder and the relevant metropolitan.

                Next, we see some curious reasons given as to why you had not published these “facts”–all decent and reasonable reasons. But, it turns out that these are nothing but a prelude to:

                “Unfortunately, recent events have forced my hand. It appears that the situation is now dangerously close to spiraling out of control. Indeed, nothing less than the autocephaly of the OCA is at stake. Simply put, the irregularities involved are of such gravity that they have now drawn in the GOA -and by extension–the Ecumenical Patrarichate, into this mess.” So, the reader wonders what exactly is going on here; nothing less than the autocephaly of the OCA is at stake?

                Well, we next find out the +Mel has fled to the GOA, hence to the EP, to plead for mercy, for the EP to fix that which was broken–the alleged failure to obtain canonical release from his elder and bishop in Greece.

                “According to my sources within the GOA, both His Grace and Fr Alexander Garklavs (the recently fired Chancellor of the OCA) recently paid a visit to the GOA’s headquarters on 79th Street, basically as supplicants. This is not the first time that both men made an overture to the GOA. Moreover, they are acting with Syosset’s full knowledge (and probably upon their directive). The nature of their visit has to do with asking the GOA to use its good offices to somehow normalize this uncanonical situation. Perhaps by importuning on his former Elder to grant him the canonical release or by invoking the prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

                Wait, it gets worse; the incentive that +Mel offers is nothing less than the autocephaly of the OCA:

                “It is unknown where things stand between the GOA and +Melchizedek at present but these same sources inform me that the situation is so desperate that many options are being considered, all of them redounding to the benefit of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Rumors abound that in return for his normalization, Syosset is willing to “re-imagine” the autocephaly of the OCA.”

                But enough of my parsing; no need to beat a dead horse. The foundational “fact” of this narrative is not true, therefore the probability is high that anything that follows is also not true. Sorry George; you do owe the good bishop and your readers an apology, which I am sure you will after you double-check with your your sources. If I may offer a piece of advice, do not trust all sources within the EP, particularly jurisdictions under the EP.

                • Carl, you do not KNOW – first hand – what you are saying. Please excuse me, but I do! Everything George said is correct and unimpeachable…backed by solid evidence. I beg you to hold your words until you understand firmly, and not just from some second hand and strategically placed words from the internet. I am not the one who had any part of supplying George with the information or evidence he has. However, I personally reported directly to the Synod (while in Mexico in January prior to the election in Pittsburgh) that +Mel was not in a canonically correct position, and was not able to be elected. They choose to ignore my deposition. I reported – often – to +JONAH of the same, which he, likewise choose to ignore. All were, in defense of them, under the sway of the excuses of +Mel, and unaware of the ramifications of his completely uncanonical departure from Greece. All are now aware, and conceivably wishing to let those dogs who they think are asleep stay put. Phanar is just waiting for this, so brush up on your Greek, because you may not like the looks of that unified Orthodoxy that is in store.

                  • I reread the Brief Chronicle and it is self-contradictory. Correct me if I am wrong but there are two irregularities that are pointed out.

                    First, Metropolitan Kyrill II obtained a release from the wrong monastery, instead of the Monastery of Petra.

                    Second, that Archimandrite Melchisedek was living in a monastery other than the one he was supposed to have been at, that is the one at Petra..

                    However, as the Brief Chronicle points out a canonical release was issued by the proper monastery,the Holy Monastery of Petra headed by +Mel’s then abbot and spiritual father Archimandrite Dionysios. And, this with the blessing of Metroplitan Kyrill II according to the document. Regarding the blessing of Metropolitan Kyrill, I do not doubt the word of the holy fathers of Petra, do you?

                    If there were indeed irregularities as claimed in the Brief Chronicle, I would think that they ceased to be canonical impediments when the Monastery of Petra issued its canonical release. Everything became kosher so to speak and all problems, if any, vanished into thin air. Just like our sins at the Holy Mystery of Penance, no? The holy fathers at Petra say that they spoke as one and were led to make their decision by the Holy Spirit. Who are we to gainsay them after the fact?

                    • The bogus release document from Corona Monastery was issued after the canonical “release letter” from Petra Monastery. The OCA has not received the canonical letter from Petra Monastery. According to Read it and Weep, the canonical letter we read yesterday is not the true release letter: Read it and Weep wrote:

                      “What Carl is peddling is NOT a release letter. It is minutes of a brotherhood meeting.
                      Ask Carl to produce the actual canonical release letter. Ask him. He thinks he did, but he did not.”

              • George, do the documents and sources you have prove that what you are saying is true?

                • Jane, the documents are confusing. Kind of like Obama’s birth certificate (for the record, I do believe he was born in the US but am of the considered opinion that a full release would raise more questions). It’s just that the case is far from open-and-shut. And again, I reiterate, it’s not for me to decide. If anything, I was trying to find a way to understand the latest machinations regarding the GOA. Why that was so hush-hush.

                  BTW, isn’t it interesting the OCAN hasn’t seen fit to write about this? Where’s the Accountability and Transparency?

                  • So why besmirch a hierarch of the Church if the documents are confusing? Not that the ones that are out there are confusing at all. However, you did indicate that there were others. that would back op your claims. Now, you are saying that they are inconclusive, confusing, like Obama’ birth certificate, like Shakespeare’s true identity, like the color of purple (you add more qualifiers as you please, please). But, shouldn’t a good journalist refrain from going forward with such confusing, muddled documents/

                    • Nothing about it is above board. It takes a while to sift through, but it’s not all that hard to understand.

                      To the best of my understanding:

                      Father Pleska (+Mel) did leave Petra Monastery without the blessing of his elder.
                      He did live in Petrila Monastery illegally for that reason.
                      +Cyril in Greece did give the OCA a false release letter ordered from Corona Monastery.
                      +Mel has never been to Corona Monastery.
                      +Mel misled the Holy Synod of the OCA. He is there under false pretenses.
                      And I don’ t know nuthin’.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Like I have said before: “Thing are in motion, and deals are being cut that we know nothing about and do not get to vote on.” I honestly do believe that the OCA’s autocephalacy will be sacrified on the altar of money. As for Bp Mel, well- this stuff happens. I would love to see what happens at the AAC. I will bet you that NOTHING happens to Bp Met, but Met. Jonah is axed. Just wait and see. Its already done if this is happening. Especially if the GOA is involved.

    I truly am sorry. People should have a real say in the direction of any institution they are in. Again, I am sorry.


  5. As a monastic in Greece, the then Archimandrite Melchizedek would have been under the obedience of his Elder. A monk cannot leave the monastery he is wed to unless he is given a blessing by his Elder. Such obedience is fundamental to the monastic life.

    If Melchizedek left his home monastery without his Elder’s blessing, he broke his monastic vows of obedience and, I believe he also broke current Greek civil law. Again, if this is the case, and he gained a release to come to the USA from someone other than his Elder, even if it was the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, that release is corrupt and invalid.

    Thus, we must now start at the beginning and first ask +Melchizedek,

    “Are the allegations true or false?”

    • True…apologies for the spam, but see below.


      I am curious to see if other *ahem* information websites will post this information.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      There is a civil law? What does it say? And what are the consequences for breaking this so-called law? Has anyone been persecuted for breaking this successfully?

    • A monk cannot leave the monastery he is wed to unless he is given a blessing by his Elder.

      In fact, doesn’t the command of the bishop of a diocese overrule the command of an abbot in that diocese? That is, whatever Elder Dionysios did or did not bless, if the Bishop blessed Fr. Mel to leave Petra and serve elsewhere, and if the Bishop later released Fr. Mel to the OCA, then the matter is settled.

      It is also quite conceivable that the Bishop attached Fr. Mel to the Monastery in Corona without Fr. Mel ever actually having lived there; the Bishop may even have forgotten to attach the good Fr. anywhere and the release from Corona may even have been done ex post facto if the Bishop had never bothered to dot the Is and cross the Ts on Fr. Mel’s paperwork when he should have – it’s the Mediterranean after all, not Germany. Whatever the paperwork, the only important release is the release then Fr. Mel received from his Bishop (and the Synod of the Church of Greece).

      It should also be noted there are questions and concerns surrounding Elder Dionysios, his claims of spiritual ‘pedigree’, and his style of spiritual leadership – questions from his days on Mt. Athos, in Jerusalem, and in Greece. It may be prudent to avoid assuming his facts are incontrovertible or that he is uncontroversial.

      • Pure speculation on your part Ps-Iosifson and no facts to back up your speculation. The facts remain that the Elder did not release the Archimandrite to Corona and Bishop Cyril would not take him from Petra without a release. The fact that the Bishop in question is still demanding a canonical release from the Elder for the Archimandrite and the monks who also left Petros without a blessing is proof that the Bishop, in releasing the Archimandrite to the OCA did so without proper canonical procedures and process. These are all known with paperwork to prove it.

        As for your questions about the Elder Dionysios, those are old barbs and do not excuse the actions of the Archimandrite in question nor the monks who left Petros without a blessing.

        The missing piece of paper and evidence is the actual release letter, which the Archimandrite refused to accept, thus causing the Bishop to eventually “release” him to the OCA months later. When that rejected release letter comes to light, and it will, all actions surrounding this man coming to the OCA from Greece will be tied up. In the meantime, all the dots are connected for anyone to see, but the OCA continues to stick its head in the sand and ignore what Constantinople and Moscow now know, that the OCA does not play by any set of rules except the ones it makes up as it goes.

        At least Jonah has tried to get the Bishop of Pittsburgh to clean up his mess, in retrospect, knowing that he came here improperly, but the Bishop of Pittsburgh has failed to comply with the request and still leaves the OCA in a compromised position.

        • I’m sorry but most of this issue and the various proofs of wrong-doing are, at this point, pure speculation. I said the same thing to Stokoe in the early days of the OCA’s financial crisis. Everyone was arguing as if Herman was guilty – long before any actual proof was provided that he was guilty.

          Until proven otherwise, we should put the best construction on everything done by all. It’s is both more likely and more charitable to assume the Bishop rightly overruled an abbot and that the paperwork involved then and for the transfer got messed up. Besides, we’ve all been Orthodox long enough to knw that most every rule is in fact not a rule but a tradition filling in the gaps between actual rules; we don’t know enough about the rules and traditions of the dioceses involved back in Greece to really be able to say that anything was done improperly so it’s best to assume it was done properly until it becomes an issue (not “until it is made into an issue” via innuendo questioning). Besides, ‘improper’ is often in the eye of the beholder: the letter of the law may allow this or that but no one has done it recently so it is seen as ‘improper’ by some, or vice versa and everyone does x even though the rule says y and someone decided to make a stink in this case. Whatever may or may not be right in the end, it’s mere speculation to argue as if there’s a problem when no one has any real reason to assume there is.

          It all simply stinks of a petty tit-for tat. “Bp Mel doesn’t like our guy so let’s find dirt on Bp Mel and see how he likes it.” Two wrongs don’t make a right – assuming anyone involved is actually wrong. Raising questions about Bp Mel’s legitimacy as a bishop via innuendo is simply a misuse (a la Stokoe) of the ‘priesthood of all believers’ and ‘conciliarity’ to excuse gossip, faction and scheming.

          • Ps-Iosifson, sorry, but It really doesn’t seem to me that you are being open minded about this issue. There are facts involved which you are skipping, either inadvertently or purposefully. This issue is neither “innuendo questioning” nor “pure speculation”.


            The Civil laws of Greece were transgressed. A Greek Bishop does not have any authority in this matter to “overrule” the elder and elder’s council of a Greek monastery, which was done. In doing so, for +Mel, and the others who fled with him, and subsequently ordaining those other rogue monks to become priests in Greece, the Bishop in Greece is, under Greek law, culpable and in danger of being defrocked and sent to prison. Such action has occurred before, and could again, and all involved know this well.

            +Mel is completely aware of this. He could go to the monastery of his repentance and ask forgiveness for fleeing, and obtain the legitimate release papers for himself, but he would then be’ throwing the other rogue monks under the bus’…they have nothing, and the Bishop who ordained them has not a leg to stand on! +Mel is using his leverage as a Bishop in America to get the matters ALL cleared up through improper channels…(…the speculation as to why boggles the mind! George was correct to ask these questions.)

            +Mel has been asked by his Metropolitan to clear up HIS papers. He has refused, despite the additional fact that he was in Greece with plenty of time to seek his legitimate release a few months ago…he did not.

            There is no “messed up paperwork”. There is a clear and authentic paper trail of the discrepancies in this case. The Greek people and government are quite capable of, and in fact do, manage clear, precise and intricate documentation.

            The church and State are not separated in Greece, so I wonder at your statement, “we don’t know enough about the rules and traditions of the dioceses involved back in Greece…” Many people do, although you are perhaps not among them.

            Further: These rogue monks, and +Mel, have not been brought to prosecution in Greece nor in Ecclesiastical courts by their abandoned Elder and brothers in Greece, even though the Greek police could, at any moment,(in Greece, for Greek citizens) round them up and put them in jail.

            I personally find it unconscionable for you to, yourself, interject innuendo and gossip here. (I am dismayed that you stooped to such in order to shore up your insubstantial arguments. What would you have said about the gossip surrounding Saint Nektarios, (among others) who was, in a completely similar manner, persecuted and vilified?)

            I adjure you to pause, and reflect.

            • Anon,

              You know of what you speak, with intimate detail. What is clear is that the OCA Synod could care less about this disorder. They bury their collective heads in the sand. It also points to another sad reality, that +Jonah, who knows all of what you write to be true, is too marginalized by the Synod and the Syosset insiders to effectively lead.

              The Greeks know of this disorder as do the Russians, and they both look at the OCA Synod only to see a group that would rather cover things up and ignore the obvious. If they can’t police themselves what makes anyone think they are legitimate?

              Seattle should be a real corker!

            • Ps-Iosifson says

              You “adjure” me? Seriously? Quit the LARPing.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Ps-Iosifson, if I may. My own opinions on this matter have been stated: that I think it’s pretty much over and done with and for the good fo the Church, should be resolved as quiestly as possible. However, my opinion and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.

                My concerns have now grown beyond the original three (e.g. why go after these decent, God-fearing women so ferociously, why go hat-in-hand to the GOA, etc.). Now we’ve got other concerns, as raised by Anon. Specifically, what is it about these rogue monks who followed +Mel into rebellion against their Abbott? Does he want to bring them to America?

                More information has come to me in this regard, in which in late 2008, when things were still fairly decent between +Mel and his Elder, the soon-to-be-elected Bishop of Pittsburgh sent information about an abandoned RC monastery in PA which would be a good location for monks from Greece.

                Again, I am pro-monastic. I think we need way more monks and nuns in America. I would hope though that all such monastics who come here however are not under a canonical cloud. It appears that this is indeed the case regarding these “rogue” monks that Anon is speaking about. It seems that one major reason +Mel is trying to bury this whole issue is not because of any canonical impediment on his own part (which after all, can be overcome in a second should he seek forgiveness from his Elder), it is that he is providing cover for these other monks, whose impediments may be even more severe.

            • Ps-Iosifson says

              I am not arguing for or against anything in this case except to argue for assuming the best of all involved, and that we take the actions of then Arch. Mel’s bishop as well as the inaction of both the abbot, the Holy Synod of Greece and the police in Greece as proof there may not be much of an issue – it’s not as if Mel left the monastery and then fled the country before the police or the Synod could catch up with him. None of this is at all dependent on whether I am or am not familiar with the civil and ecclesiastical laws some are assuming may have been broken.

              Things may change, of course, and I will be more than willing to change my stance then, but innocent until proven guilty isn’t just for people we like. Once again, I said and did the same re the OCA financial scandal and the involvement of some bishops and clergy. It’s important to remember that ‘not bearing false witness’ includes talking about things we don’t literally know to be true, i.e., gossip and innuendo are sinful, even when well-intentioned, even when found true in the end (though not yet).

              • Jane Rachel says

                Innocent until proven guilty. Enough facts are in to know that it is illegal to leave a monastery along with other monks without the blessing of the elder. So he is certainly guilty of that. We certainly do not know why. If +Mel does not want to “throw the other monks under the bus” for good reason, and he left the monastery for good and noble reasons, then it’s a whole other story in terms of principle and integrity, which, if he has, God likes. For example, a scenario could be that the Elder is lacking integrity and that’s why they left, we don’t know. However, is it a fact that +Mel treated the nuns poorly? That would show a lack of integrity on his part. George says he treated them terribly. Is he guilty of mistreatment of nuns? Let’s see. did they deserve that kind of treatment? They were thrown out. Hmm… did they refuse to show hospitality to their guests? Is that a good reason to throw a lady out of her home? You can look at a person’s track record to help you figure out which way to think about people… hmmm… I’m tending towards the nuns, Elder Dionysius, and Greek law. The law states they can’t leave without the blessing. Wonder why it happened. Must have been a reason we don’t know about. But, on the other hand, If it was because of principles and +Mel’s principles win out, that IS a different story altogether. Somebody knows what happened. We’ll find out what we need to, I reckon. Duh.

                • Ps-Iosifson says

                  We do not know all or most of the facts – anyone who is claiming we do is merely stipulating.

                  In addition, regarding our understanding of the laws involved, it is far more likely we don’t have all the details and aren’t fully aware of all the particulars in the law (both civil and ecclesial). Many are also not taking into account the discretion both governments and churches use in applying the letter of the law (or not).

                  Discussion of the reasons behind any aspect of this case is mere speculation on anyone’s part.

                  The rest is simply hearsay and gossip: “Well, I heard he was mean to the nuns”, “But I heard the Elder was this and Bp Mel was that”. This is kaffeeklatch chattering, not journalism, and it is not Orthodox.

                  • Ps-Iosifson, let me present this simply:

                    Why couldn’t the so-called “DC Nuns” be allowed to join the OCA?

                    We know at least some members of the Synod were vehemently opposed to having them join the OCA. We know Bishop Melchisedek knew the nuns in Greece.

                    What was so bad about them that could merit a mention in the SMPAC memorandum?

                    If there was truly something bad about them, how could the OCA have released them to ROCOR?

                    And if there was nothing bad about them, then we go back to the beginning: Why couldn’t they be allowed to join the OCA?

                    • DC Indexman says

                      I wonder why you insist on discussing (talking) about the lives and details of a group of individuals you know nothing about. Most of what you have discussed about the “DC Nuns” is nothing but conjecture, speculation, gossip, and pure fantasy. Would you appreciate your lives discussed in these methods?

                      When the DC Nuns came to DC in Feb, 2010, I was one of the many people that helped them organize their living quarters. Many of us entered into their lives and the nuns into ours. I attended once a week for most of the time they were here — their prayer services. I had many meals and many hours of conversation with the sisters. I helped them on some of their projects. Many people received alot of joy from them.

                      Over time more nuns were added to their monastery and tripled in size. Several of these nuns grew up in Orthodox families. I have met some of their parents and relatives. Many of them have professional and or technical education that they are putting to use in the DC area. These sisters have helped many in the short time they have been here. Instead of telling what Christ has called the sisters to due, you are trying to involve these nuns as characters in your detective stories. What value is this detective story adding to our lives or the lives of the needy?

                      The DC Nuns story should be over. The nuns have moved on and are doing what they are suppose to do. If you really want to help why don’t you contribute money or better yet, come to DC and offer them some of your time. Finally, our Metropolitan has said the best way to handle this situation is quit talking about it. Can you do that?

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      DC Indexman, I am happy to hear about them! I can’t tell you why except that I just plain love them. Never met them but I visited a monastery and remember how they live, and I know Who they worship and how they worship. I can smell the services and see the candles lighting the icon of the Theotokos. Ahhh… I miss that. It’s a heart-warming thing to hear about them. Just wanted to say that. Thanks. Oh, and, you have made a very good point. Ahem. Sorry for my part in that.

                    • DC Indexman, I don’t know who you mean to reply to but I’ve barely said anything about the nuns in months. Everything I said about them in the post you’re replying to is independently verifiable by reading the minutes of Synod meetings and other sources.

                      And why does anyone keep on talking about them? Because they were abused and dragged through the mud. They were defamed and forced out of their home. All this happened through no fault of theirs, but to use them as a whip to scourge Metropolitan Jonah.

                      With all due respect to Metropolitan Jonah, he is welcome to tolerate abuse against himself all he wants, but he can’t tell me to sit back and watch while he or any other innocent party is taken to the woodshed.

                      “If you faint in the day of adversity,
                      Your strength is small.
                      Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
                      And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
                      If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’
                      Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
                      He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
                      And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?”

                      Proverbs 24:10-12

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Helga, you bring up another point: and that is since there the SMPAC report (gratuitously) mentions the nuns, and if the nuns are guiltless, then what does this say about the nature of the SMPAC report?

                      I’d say that it’s a tainted document.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    What’s not Orthodox is meting out dribs and drabs about incidents, not telling the truth, or keeping the truth from the people when it needs to be told. When I read someone on this blog stating something as categorically true in a way that is believable, whether the person posts anonymously or not, I tend towards believing that it is more likely true than not. It is Orthodox to want your bishops to be Orthodox. The Holy Spirit “fills up what is lacking” but that does not give our bishops the excuse to act badly.

                    You wrote that I said:

                    “Well, I heard he was mean to the nuns”, “But I heard the Elder was this and Bp Mel was that”.

                    That’s not true. I did not “hear” he was mean to the nuns. I know the nuns were treated badly. I’m trying to make sense out of that, trying to give Bishop Melchisedek the benefit of the doubt, trying to find a way to think that he might have been acting with integrity when he left the monastery with the other monks.

                    I did not “hear” the Elder was “this.” I believe the Elder is a good man. I did not “hear” that Bp Mel was “that.” I know there is something wrong with the way he was released. I know it because it’s true or it would not be the subject of this blog, George’s article, and all this discussion.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Now how can George possibly be wrong? And, how can all the other folks with just first names or made up names be possibly wrong?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      All people have first names, Carl. I never intimated or stated that I could not be wrong. I merely raised several questions based on several observable and verifiable facts.

                      Here are a few:

                      1. The original canonical release letter has not yet been made known.

                      2. The nuns were persecuted unjustly while in this country by people who are against +Jonah.

                      3. The nuns were mentioned in the SMPAC report.

                      4. There is a bishop in Greece who effected the release who is sweating bullets right now, wondering if he has the strength to pound big rocks into littler rocks.

                      5. Bishop +Mel and the disgraced former chancellor of the OCA are surreptiously meeting with the GOA.

                      There’s a lot of dots than this here here Carl. The picture they’re forming is not a pretty one.

                    • Ps-Iosifson says

                      I know it because it’s true or it would not be the subject of this blog, George’s article, and all this discussion.

                      This is exactly the problem. This statement is logically untenable.

                    • Ps-Iosifson says

                      In fact, we have no reason to expect that “The original canonical release letter” would be made known to the public even if it has been provided to the OCA.

                      None of us knows whether “The nuns were persecuted unjustly” or not. We don’t have enough information to say that. We also don’t have enough to confirm whether actions involving them represent “persecution” or “discipline” and “proper order”.

                      Do we know for a fact that the “nuns were mentioned in the SMPAC report”, or do we believe this based on someone who knows someone who saw the SMPAC report?

                      That “There is a bishop in Greece who effected the release who is sweating bullets right now, wondering if he has the strength to pound big rocks into littler rocks” is the definition of yellow journalism. We don’t and can’t know this, it is an assumption based on a series of other assumptions based on incomplete data.

                      Again, anonymous sources whose motives and reliability cannot be verified are telling us that Bishop +Mel and the former chancellor of the OCA have visited the GOA. Whether the former chancellor is “disgraced” and whether these visits were “surreptitious” are at the very least editorializing and tilt towards hyperbole.

                      Again, none of us really knows the truth of the situation and we don’t have enough facts to make even an educated guess that isn’t mere speculation. That’s the problem. It’s like posting a story about questions concerning politician X has had an affair or multiple affairs, and then everyone spouts off their uninformed opinions based on the random data points that don’t (yet, if ever) add up to anything.

                      As I’ve told Mark over and over these past years, “just the facts”. Partisan editorializing and speculation does nothing but stoke the passions of the mob, it doesn’t actually help get at the truth. The facts are enough to get the job done, as long as the messenger hasn’t undermined his own credibility by moving beyond confirmed (and confirmable) facts.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Glad you shared this. Makes things much more clear.

                      “As I’ve told Mark over and over these past years, ‘just the facts’.”

              • “Partisan editorializing and speculation does nothing but stoke the passions of the mob, it doesn’t actually help get at the truth. The facts are enough to get the job done, as long as the messenger hasn’t undermined his own credibility by moving beyond confirmed (and confirmable) facts.”

                Amen to that. Thanks, Ps-Iosifson, for trying to keep this discussion grounded in reality. I have very much appreciated the soundness of the reasoning in your comments here and at other sites as well on this issue (2 Timothy 1:7).

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Oh for goodness’ sake. George, do you have evidence to back up your allegations? If so, do you have good reason to keep that evidence to yourself?

                  Whatever Mark Stokoe has said or presented over the years, despite his huge storehouse of documentation and proof, he did not “prove” anything. If the reader doesn’t see the smoke screen, the reader had better take cover.

                  Discrediting George and other commentators here because every piece of paper has not been publicized does not make the problem involving Bishop Melchisedek’s release to the OCA go away. But discrediting them (us) as if we were children does throw a pretty red herring into the mix. It takes the reader in a different direction. The fact is that something is wrong and we need to be concerned about it. We need to keep asking about it. It involves our leaders. They have gotten away with and are still getting away with awful things (if you weren’t around to experience that nightmare, you can’t know how bad it was). Saying the Holy Synod will take care of it used to work but not any more – not for a lot of us, at least not until we can know that we can trust them again. Having said that, I want to add this. The Holy Synod itself as a body of bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church, ordained by the laying on of hands passed down from the Apostles, is not to be taken lightly nor their offices disrespected. A bishop acting well is joy in motion. A bishop acting badly is a very serious thing and so sad for the Church.

                  What he said about telling Mark to stick to the facts. The fact is, what a bunch of baloney.

      • In fact, doesn’t the command of the bishop of a diocese overrule the command of an abbot in that diocese?

        I may be mistaken, but I think an abbot or abbess has absolute authority within the walls of his or her own monastery, and that a bishop cannot overrule unless there is some abuse or betrayal of the faith involved.

  6. John Christopher says

    George: Bishop Melchizedek’s offense, as you’ve reported it, is a breach of protocol, not the canons or ecclesiastical law. Your accusation, even if substantiated by proof in a spiritual court, would not rise to the level of an impediment to ordination.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      John, I’m not a canonist, canon lawyer, nor theologian. I really don’t know if any of this rises to the level of proof needed in an ecclesiastical court. Personally, I’m willing to err on the side of prudence and let things stand where they are. Let’s be honest, the entire Orthodox experience post-1917 is questionable. Very good cases could be made that the ethnic eparchies are “extra-canonical” for want of a charitable phrase.

      As I wrote, now that the nuns are safe, +Jonah is still Metropolitan, Moscow has stated its terms, we got some good bishops, etc., I was more than willing to let sleeping dogs lie. What forced my hand however was the possibility of a back-door deal with the Phanar to force the OCA to submit to it.

      Let me repeat: I am willing to “re-imagine” the autocephaly fo the OCA if it means a greater autocephaly that encompasses all Orthodox Christians in North America. Its primate doesn’t have to be +Jonah, it could be +Philip, +Demetrios, or the guy behind the tree. What I am not in favor of is the vision stated by Lambrianides that any such united American Church should “submit itself to the First Throne of Orthodoxy.” Especially if that First Throne is not any more conservative than the Syosset Soviet.

    • Read It And Weep says

      John Christopher,

      Sorry to disagree, but you are mistaken. Bishop Melchizedek’s offenses, if true, are severe breaches of canonical and ecclesiastical law. And, if true, puts him in a compromised position of having major “dirt” on his record, which can be used by those who might “need a favor” of the bishop someday. Put in practical terms, if the new priest assigned to your parish ran away from his former parish and bishop without a blessing, then was accepted by your bishop without fully disclosing his past, or misrepresenting his past, would you consider that priest’s assignment to your parish in keeping with canonical and ecclestical law? His assignment would be invalid. As to whether Bishop Mechizedek’s consecration is invalid, that would be up to a spiritual court to decide but at the very least, if true, he misrepresented himself to the Synod and that is a very serious matter. What does this say about the man, himself, if he would do such a thing? As to tying this to some sort of intrigue between the OCA, GOA, EP and MP, it is pretty clear to me, at least, that all the Greeks and Russians have to do is just be patient while the OCA implodes.

      So, like Jacob asked above, are the allegations true or false? It is up to Bishop Mechizedek to set the record straight. I think we all want him to come forward and tell the truth.

  7. Oh, I think there is much more to this than meets the eye. Syosset sells the OCA for the price of an unrepentant man? The Greek Orthodox Church in America in effect “blackmails” the OCA by saying, “We can fix it without his repentance but we won’t unless you give us the OCA”? I might be misreading what you are saying, George.

    Are they just looking for a reason to take over? Has this selling of the OCA to the EP been in their minds for a long time? If you had not made this story public, would they have fabricated a reason? Is the OCA already on the rocks and beyond saving? Is that why this is going on? One unrepentant man refusal to repent brings down the OCA? Is this only the tip of the iceberg we are about to hit?

    • Change, “The Greek Orthodox Church in America” to “The Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Worse. It is worse yet, I’m sure of it.

  8. Attempting to remain on-topic with this thread, I’ve posted my latest bit of satire entitled “Rogue Monk” at: http://s1235.photobucket.com/home/Heracleides

  9. Additional information fro SVOTS:
    Thomas Pleska (’86) – From 1998 until 2003, Fr Melchisedek (Thomas Pleska) served as the Chaplain of Holy Cross Monastery in Thebes, Boeotia, Greece, and from 2003 until 2005 at the Monastery of St George the Great Martyr in Mavrommati/Mouzaki, Thessaly Greece. Since 2005, he has been in residence at Petras Monastery, Katafygion, Karditsa, where he serve as Chaplain. On September 8, 2004, he was tonsured to the Great Schema by Fr Dionysios, the Abbot and Elder of our Brotherhood at Petras Monastery, with the name of Melchisedek, and on December 18, 2004 was raised to the ranks of Archimandrite and Spiritual Father. In September of that year, he made his first visit to Constantinople to celebrate the induction with Patriarch Bartholomew, and later that month made the first of two visits to the Monastery of Bose, in Magnano, Italy where he participated in the annual Conference on Orthodox Spirituality, which is hosted there. Other travels have taken him to France and Slovenia. He has been able, in spite of open-heart surgery in January of 2005, to keep fairly active.”

  10. Sure looks like he had been relesed properly. See the following. Now I am thoroughly confused. Also, George please help as the quote is being truncated at the end of the first line of the decision itself. Basically, the document affirms that +Jonah asked for +Melchisedek’s release and that it was granted.

    Source: https://www.monomakhos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/67SynSTPrakBApolythrioFrMelxjsedek13Dec08ENG-Copy.pdf

    Tel.: 697.8118604 * Fax: 244.1080716 * E-mail: MoniPetras@fhc.orG * Web Site: http://www.MoniPetras.orG
    Reg. No. 67
    December 13th, 2008
    Today, Saturday the 13th of December, 2008, at 9:00 a.m., a

    • Carl, +Jonah asked the local Greek Bishop for a release of +Mel and received THAT, – not the Monastery! This is completely uncanonical,and that Bishop is in deep trouble in Greece – which has civil laws prohibiting such actions. +Jonah was hoodwinked!

      • You must have read the posts that show that the Monastery gave him the release as well. Here is the text for you to consider:

        “…Thus, persisting in prayer, with one mind surrendering to the Holy Spirit, we herewith send the canonical release paper of the aforementioned brother, ratified through the good will of our eminent Metropolitan KYRILL II…”

        Sorry, I could not copy and paste; I had to actually manually copy the passage that I quoted above. The name of the “brother” was “the very reverend archimandrite Fr. Melchisedek…who holds register no. 13 in the monastic roll of our Sacred Monastery, a man tested upon our Rock like Peter…” The action was in response to +Jonah’s request.

        So, your information is diametrically opposed to an actual document from the Holy Monastery of Petra, attested by the Abbot, Archimandrite Dionysios and the members of the Council of Elders. I prefer to accept the testimony of these holy monks.

      • Making it easier to understand the “Brief Chronicle”:

        1. Canonical Letter of Release for +Mel written from Petra. The letter states that it will be sent to +Jonah.
        2. +Jonah did not receive this original, canonical letter from Petra. Instead….
        3. The Petra Letter was delivered to +Cyril at Kaditsa.
        4. Two weeks later, +Jonah, having not received canonical release letter or +Mel, writes to +Cyril at Kaditsa, asking them to facilitate +Mel’s release.
        5. +Cyril sends the OCA/+Jonah a “bogus” “release paper” (not the canonical one written from Petra) that +Cyril ordered from Corona Monastery (+Mel never lived there, so that’s bogus).
        6. +Cyril also sends a copy of the bogus letter to Petrilo Monastery, where +Mel was allowed by +Cyril to live after 2008.
        7. Petra Monastery never gave permission for +Mel to live at Petrilo after +Mel left Petra under troublesome circumstances. Illegal! +Mel was “absolutely forbidden” by canon law to live on Petrilo because of the way he left Petra, and was called by canons to go back to Petra to repent. Did he?
        8. +Mel could have requested a release from Petra. Did he?
        9. +Mel and +Cyril sent the bogus release paper to the OCA to “bypass the consequences” of +Cyril’s letting +Mel live at Petrilo without Petra’s permission. That’s one illegal action. The second is sending a bogus letter to the OCA.


        1. +Mel left without permission (“abandoned”) the monastery he was bound to, Petra, and went to live at Petrilo without Petra’s permission.
        2. +Cyril sent to the OCA a bogus letter of release from Corona where +Mel never lived instead of the real one from Petra. This really happened??
        3. +Mel becomes an OCA bishop, +Jonah finds out the release letter the OCA has is bogus.
        4. +Jonah asks +Mel for the canonical release letter from Petra.
        5. +Mel does not give him the letter.
        6. Hmmmm……
        7. Why did the Monastery of Petra and Elder Dyonisius write the letter of release for +Mel if +Mel left Petra without permission?
        8. Why did +Cyril send a bogus letter and not the “real” one to the OCA/+Jonah?
        9. Why did +Mel and those with him treat those wonderful and holy Greek nuns so horribly?

        Documents we haven’t read (so far) that will most likely shed more light on this mess:

        1.April, 2011 letter of +Cyril to Archimandrite Dyonisius, Abbot of Petra and +Mel’s Elder in Greece.
        2. Dec. 2008 Letter of +Jonah to Archimandrite Dyonisius.
        3. Dec. 2009 Elder’s Council of Petra, Excerpt II minutes.
        4. Archimandrite Dyonisius cover letter to +Cyril.
        5. Jan 2009 +Jonah to +Cyril.
        6. Mar 2009 Regulation 40, Karditsa
        7. Feb 2010 +Jonah’s letter to +Mel asking for that canonical release letter.

        A lot of questions.

        (P.S. I know why my sisters the nuns had to suffer. What matters, is name, reputation, power, money, and, of course, fully satisfying the passions. The passions will never be satisfied, guys. Try going the other direction. Follow those humble nuns. They are right in the bosom of the Pantocrator. See that little place where He folds His big elbow to make the Blessing? That’s where the nuns live. Prostrate yourself before an icon of the Theotokos about a million times a day, fast and pray constantly, see how that takes your fancy. Hah. When pigs fly.)

        • One more thought:

          Petra Monastery must have sent the canonical letter of release to Bishop Cyril because it was the right thing to do. Bishop Cyril did not send it on to the OCA but instead sent the “bogus” letter of release. There’s something wrong with doing that.

        • I suppose I need to apologize to Bishop Melchisedek again. Sigh. If Elder Dionysius of the esteemed Petra Monastery in Greece and the other monks who signed the canonical letter of release for +Mel say that he spent day and night praying and serving there like the Rock of Peter then I guess he did. I keep jumping to conclusions. But on the other hand, I think a person can spend a lot of time prostrating and fasting and praying in monasteries and still be kind of mean-spirited and self-serving. Not saying +Mel is like that.

          • Read It And Weep says

            Jane Rachel,

            You have jumped to NO CONCLUSIONS. Stay strong. What Carl is peddling is NOT a release letter. It is minutes of a brotherhood meeting.

            Ask Carl to produce the actual canonical release letter. Ask him. He thinks he did, but he did not.

            The truth in this matter is still to be shown. And, it will be.

            • How is it that so many people suddenly have the minutes of a brotherhood meeting of a Greek monastery? Do they routinely keep them in English or translate them?

            • Jane Rachel–You just remember that the minutes clearly state that the Monastery of Petra (the canonically proper releasing monastery) “herewith send the canonical release paper” with the blessing of Metropolitan Kyrill (the canonical proper releasing bishop) “to His Beautitude” (Metropolitan Jonah who is the canonically proper protos to have requested and received the letter). And, then ask yourself a few questions:

              1. Do I trust these monks to have done what they said they were doing?

              2. Do I trust Metropolitan Jonah to have done the right thing?

              3. Do I think that the actions of all proper authorities (Metropolitan Jonah, Metropolitan Kyrill, and the holy monks of Petra, headed by Archimandrite Dionysios) were deficient?

              • Carl, you can go on the exact documents you say you’ve read, but I am sure based on what several people are saying that there’s more to this than what we’ve been able to discern. Some of these people posting without using their names state they do know what is happening and are in a position to know. We will have to wait to see what else is made known. There are several people stating that Metropolitan Kyrill and +Melchisedek were indeed “deficient.” As for trusting, I’ve learned it’s not always wise to trust just because someone has a nice name, reputation or smile.

              • It is premature to ask these questions when you are not in possession of all the documents. Minutes are not canonical releases.

                • Jane and Ian–you are both right. I suggest you write directly to +Jonah and ask him to please produce the official canonical release letter that he received, You know, the letter without which he could not and should not have proceeded with +Melchisedek’s consecration. My analysis was indeed based on the assumption that +Jonah had done the right thing.

                  • So now the uber-conciliarists are seeking to shift the responsibility to +Jonah when in the past the hallmark of their ecclesiology was that the Primate must seek their permission to wipe his nose. Smooth.

                    Which is it: is this Church to be run equally by all the bishops on the HS or is the Primate alone responsible for international relations? If the latter, then why did the HS interefere in the case of Zacchaeus Wood?

                    I know the answer: it’s called having it both ways.

                    • Common George; quit blowing smoke up you know where! What is this great desire to cover up, obfuscate, attack, attack and attack? What are you trying to cover up? Is your article a preemptive strike that will take the people’s mind off of something that somebody on Team Jonah screwed up? I really do not get it. I say that I assumed that Metropolitan Jonah handled this correctly and you jump down my throat with an accusation that I am trying to shift responsibility for a situation that I do not consider to be messed up. It is you who is trying to eat his cake and eat it too. Give it up, εξάδελφος Γεώργιος! (see below. 🙂

                      1. Used Google translate to come up with the Greek version of Cousin George.
                      2. Figured that we are somehow related as my grandfather was from Macedonia (Ekshi Su village), and my grant-mother from Salonika, during the Ottoman days.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Carl, it is not either. This is certainly not the machinations of “Team +Jonah” but just little ole’ me wondering why the vetting process for episcopal election wasn’t followed. And I must add that I’m very curious why Team Jokoe doesn’t seem concerned that this was never brought up in the first place. You know, especially since you and your boys are always on the lookout for traffic citations given to +Jonah because he jay-walked when he was a kid or was taken to the princpal’s office because he shot a spitwad through a straw.

                      I guess what I’m trying to say is when you start looking criticially at Stokoe and his wishful reporting then we can have an honest debate.

                  • It was inappropriate to include +Jonah in your initial comment but I let it go. My hunch at the time was that you wanted to tar him. This comment confirms the hunch. You are like the Paul Begalia of the Stokovites.

    • Carl, not being a canon lawyer, I asked several priests to look into the document which you quote. That is not a canonical release but the minutes of a meeting. Both are ecclesially legal documents but there are fundamental differences between them, like the difference between a law passed by Congress and a transcript of the transcripts of the business of Congress on a particular day. Or the by-laws of a parish as opposed to the minutes of the parish council meeting.

      • Thanks George; In my earlier answer to Jane and Ian, I had agreed with that point. Now, we await for the powers that be to produce the official letter. In the meantime, would be be too much to ask to stop stirring the pot any further? Mille grazie!

  11. Ask not for whom the bell tolls….it’s tolling for +Mel……wake up people…..+Mel has been messing with people’s souls.


    Maybe +Mel’s recent visit also has something to do with the fact that GOA’s +Maximos has stepped down for health reasons and maybe +Mel is looking to be received?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Chrys, this is an interesting take to be sure but I can assure you that the Phanar would never let a non-Greek-descended bishop rule over parishes within the GOA. It’s just not gonna happen, it’s just not in the Phanariote/Greekist DNA.

      Remember what Lambrianides spoke of: a conglomeration of ethnic churches, each headed by bishops of their ethnicity, all of whom submit to a Greek Metropolitan of North America who after siphoning their money back to New Rome, basically leaves them alone.

      The deals that I have exposed are not going to result in a truly territorial American church in which there is one bishop for one city. Technically, there may be one bishop for Chicago, but the Serbs and Albanians will still be part of a Serbian or Albanian ethno-diocese. Same thing with the Greeks in Miami for example. And first consideration to the “election” of any bishop in the future will be given to someone who is Greek-descended.

      I say this because notwithstanding the best attempts of pan-Orthodox minded people like the OCL, the ethno-tribalists within the various jurisdictions are not in favor of true unity. Not if that means that they have to “be under” a Serb, or an Arab, or a Greek. Certainly not an American.

    • Dear Chrys–I don’t get it. Right after my posting that boldly alleged that canonical release was obtained on the basis of a pdf file that I found on Monomakhos, you cite another pdf file that you found on the same site that contradicts mine. What is even more strange is that you do not cite your pdf file in opposition to mine; you simply ignore it. Don’t you want to know the truth?

      For those who have not read the pdf files, my file is a copy of the minutes of the Council of Elders of the Monastery of Petra that was presided by +Mel’s then elder and states that +Jonah’s request for canonical release is granted with the blessing of the diocesan bishop, Metropolitan Kyrill II. The pdf file cited by Chrys appears to be not an original document like mine but somebody’s analysis of the situation, alleging that +Mel’s release was not canonical because +Jonah’s canonical release request was sent to, and approved by, the wrong elder and monastery (not Petra).

      So Chrys and George, would you mind reading the original document that I cited? Please?

  12. George, some weird things are happening on this site. First, I was responding to a posting by Jane Rachel that backed you and now I cannot find it. Second, in my draft reply I had asked her to please read the Petra Monastery document at “https://www.monomakhos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/67SynSTPrakBApolythrioFrMelxjsedek13Dec08ENG-Copy.pdf” but when I clicked on the link to make sure I did not miss anything when I copied and pasted, I got “Error 404. The page you are looking for no longer exists.” Also, Chrys’ link does not work either–same “page no longer exists.”

    Would you please look into this. May be your database is messed up. BTW, I would be more than happy to send to you the word document into which I copied and pasted the contents of the Petra Monastery pdf file. I know it is not as good as the original but better than nothing until you obtain another pdf file of the original canonical release.

    • Carl, Jane Rachel is a real person sitting with a cup of coffee in northern Minnesota and trying to get to the documents you cited before she posts again. I deleted what I wrote that you were replying to almost immediately, because after reading your long post I thought I’d better not speak out so much. I don’t like the taste of crow, either…

      • Jane, nobody likes the taste of crow, myself included. As I said in the body of my article (and which seems to elude Stokoe’s sycophants), the documents are contradictory. That means that there’s ambiguity regarding the entire affair. In other words, it can be decided one way or the other and I for one am willing to let this be the province of the bishops and the bishops alone.

        My concern is two-fold:

        1. that a certain faction within the OCA acted in an unChristian manner against these nuns. (I’ll forego the uncanonical part since legalism is the last refuge of the Stokovites.) And,

        2. that this same faction is actively conspiring with parts of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to “look” into the matter of the episcopal election in question. The price to be determined.

      • Jane Rachel…I, too, am in northern Minnesota drinking some hot coffee. Drop me a note at navyguns@gmail.com. Since I’m still “exploring” Orthodoxy I would very much like to talk to someone local who is already there.



        • Alec, where in northern Minnesota? I pastored Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth and roamed the vast reaches all the way to Bemidji, even in the dead of winter.

          • Embarrass, Mn. The “Cold Spot” of the nation (lower 48 that is).

            In my area, the only OCA parish is without a priest. We have two Serbian Orthodox parishes, one in Chisholm and one in Hibbing, so I will likely attend Vespers at one of those in the near future. The Hibbing Church has a newly minted priest while the Chisholm church has a more seasoned priest. Any recommendations on which to attend based on priest experience?

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              I’ve never been to the Chilsolm Church but I have served in Hibbing a few times. I even did Nativity there once, subbing for their priest — old calendar so I actually had two Christmases that year.

              I can’t recommend either one since it’s been a while since I was there. Have good memories of the Serbian priests, good men. The Slavic heritage is strong there still although mostly old timers who worked the taconite mines before the collapse of the steel industry years back. I mostly took care of the Greeks who remained behind.

              You might also try Twelve Holy Apostles in Duluth if you ever get a chance. That has transformed into an American Church for the most part with converts adding to the parish. It’s one of the few smaller town parishes that is actually viable, and my thought always was that was due to some people there who really prayed, and were grateful when people came into the parish. They always manage to have a run of good priests and right now Fr. Timothy Sas is doing a great job there.

              I can’t say I miss the winters, but the summers are gorgeous. I remember doing a funeral in January once, we went out to the gravesite (Hibbing actually) and it was so brutally cold we could not stay outside more than five minutes. One of the coldest days on record as I recall. They have machines that thaw the ground that run for eight hours to warm it up enough to dig. The wind whipped up the tears and then they froze on your cheeks. I’m a Minnesota boy so I know cold, but now that I live in Florida I got spoiled.

              I used to visit the sick people on the other side of the state. I remember driving those rolling back highways, desolate in many places and always wondering what I would do if I slid off the road. It would be hours before someone found me, if they even did. I had the whole winter survival thing in the back seat, the stuff they tell you to pack every time winter comes around. Fortunately, I always made it back home safe.

              • Thanks for stories Fr Jacobse. We live in a very small world. The steel industry is booming again. All the mines are running at full capacity and they are starting a new in one in Nashwauk.

                We are prepping for winter again, and yes it will be cold, but that means snow and snowmobiling!!!!

                I was going to attend Vespers tonight at St Michael the Archangel in Hibbing, but cannot. Oh, well. All in God’s good time

            • V,Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              Oletteko Suomalainen? Puhetteko suomea?I service a Serbian Orthodox church here in the Detroit area.I’m glad to hear the Serbian churches up there are doing vespers.I just started doing them in the church which I’m servicing.
              I’m supposed to meet with a Serbian Archimandrite here tommorrow,so I can inquire about the Serbian parishes there,if you like.Which OCA church up there are you refering to?
              I haven’t yet been to your state,though I used to service Sts.Sergius & Herman of Valaam in Upper Michigan.I’m from Vermont,so I know what cold winters are all about.May I contact you at theg,mail address you provided?
              Best wishes,


            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              Your last name suggests you might be a “Suomalainen”.I actually studied Finnish here in the Detroit area,sorry to say at my age the mind doesn’t retain much.
              I service a Serbian parish in this area,I can certainly ask around about the churches up there.May I contact you at the address you provided?
              Best wishes,


    • if you copy the entire link for the PDF and paste it into Google search Google then allows you to “Quick View” the pdf file. The two documents seem to go hand in hand. I thought they contradicted each other at first but the letter from the monastery is just the second point on the chronicle.

      • Thanks, Elijah, that worked.

      • Here’s a link to the google cache of this document (using Elijah’s instructions). It does indeed seem to indicate that Bishop Melchisedek was properly released by his elder.

        (The link was massively long, so I ran it through Google’s link shortener; nothing nefarious about the short link.)

        George, unless you have a signed document from Gerunda Dionysios saying that the minutes of that assembly are a sham, I think you might want to back away from your assertions.

        (And believe me, I’m no fan of what’s going on any more than you are. Muddying the waters with false assertions should be avoided at all costs though, in my humble opinion.

        • How do you explain the second document titled, “Brief Chronicle of +Melchisedek’s Uncanonical Release to the OCA”?

        • Okay. After reading through the chronology a little more carefully (reading is FUNdamental!), I think I see what you’re talking about.

          Let me see if I have it summed up correctly:
          Then Archimandrite Melchisidek left Petra without a blessing, eventually ending up back in America.

          But, how is the paperwork from Petra improper? It looks like it was done with the knowledge of his elder, and by the bishop of the diocese in which the monastery is located. I’m not seeing that part.

          • I think the question George is asking is that if everything is as in order as that document makes it appear, why all the bizarre behavior on Bishop Melchisedek’s part? Pushing some nuns out of the OCA, even though there was no canonical irregularity in their release from Greece, and therefore no reason not to receive them? Having secret meetings with Archbishop Demetrios without Metropolitan Jonah’s authorization? George may or may not be on the right track by speculating that the issue is Bishop Melchisedek’s possible canonical difficulties with his elder in Greece, but there has to be some explanation.

            • Helga–I do agree with you that there needs to be some explanations:

              1. The stated reason were the nuns “being pushed out” is that they did not have a canonical release. You assert that they were properly received and cared for by the Archbishop of Washington. In the case of +Melchisedek, we do have evidence of canonical release; where is a similar document regarding the nuns?

              2. George says that the documents that Chryssy and I unearthed from Monomakhos.com are of equal value. Yet, one is an official document and the other is an unsigned piece of analysis. Don’t you think that George needs to explain his criteria for deciding the relative worth of evidence?

              3. Who says that there were secret meetings with Archbishop Demetrios without +Jonah’s blessing? I believe, and please correct me if I am wrong, that it is George’s reporting based on inside but unnamed sources. How is this any different from similar reporting by Stokoe?

              4. Why in the world is everybody ignoring the elephant in the room? George’s argument lives or dies on the assertion (false as it turned out) that Archimandrite Melchisedek came to the USA without a canonical release.

              5. Why are some folks so eager to follow reporting by George and despise similar reporting by Mark? Never mind, I think I know the answer: George’s reporting fits the preferred narrative.

              • Maybe because I actually report the news? Your idol Stokoe has been very selective in his reporting, hasn’t he?

                • Please! Using your own yardsticks, you seem to be just as selective as he is and just as sure of the righteousness of your cause as he is of his. The only piece of news that you reported in the article was about +Mel’s canonical non-release. Of course, that was proven wrong by….you (albeit three years ago). Everything else is conjecture, speculation, “reports” from unnamed folks, and faulty reasoning. Just the sort of journalistic crimes which you regularly report to Stokoe. You are no better than he is George; you both filter everything through the Jonah Glass; his is dark, while yours is rosy.

              • George, do you have more information you are not disclosing that would prove your assertions? I’m getting tired of getting mad at bishop after bishop after bishop. (Hats off to the bishops presently in office who are doing what St. Paul told you to do.)

  13. Looks like I finally made the Big-Time: S/he Who Must Not Be Named swears that I’m a konvertsy and that I publish anonymously:


    Oh well, that’s the kind of disordered thinking that happens when a man excommunicates his other brain.

    • You know, we need to start asking questions about Stan’s canonical relationship with the Church, too. Why is he allowed to present himself as a member in good standing of the Orthodox Church?

      • Helga–You are much too good a person to have brought this up. How dare any one of us get between any one of us and his priest? Shall we now gossip and judge folks’ shortcomings, such as gluttony (expect 1 in 2 Americans to be obese in a decade or so); Internet pornography (1 in 4 men according to latest statistics); a fairly high percentage of Orthodox who do NOT attend church regularly; a fairly high percentage of Orthodox who do not tithe, give alms, fast, and only darken the doors of the Church on Pascha? How about a high percenatge of Internet users who dabble in gossip?

        • CodeNameYvette says

          Short answer: public scandal. The person in question advertises his lifestyle and labels himself Orthodox. Sins are private when they are not flaunted publicly — entirely private if they are the sins of lay persons with no authority over others in the Church. Not so private when they affect the spiritual well-being of a parish or diocese.

        • Carl, do you not understand the meaning of the word “scandal”? It comes from the Greek skandalon (“stumbling block”). A stumbling block was a physical object, it was used in the racing track to help runners mark their places at the start of the race (i.e. a starting block). Unfortunately, if it was not removed, the runner could stumble across it as he rounded the lap. The point is a scandal is a public manifestation of something egregious, just like a stumbling block is a physical object in the potential path of a runner.

          What you do in private is between you and God. I can no more judge you (nor you I) than I can the man on the moon because I don’t have the omniscience necessary to do so.

          As for the sins of the person in question, they are very public. Unless of course you don’t consider the slandering of bishops a sin. As for myself, I take any slanders from that quarter as a badge of honor. Anybody that loves Stalin and the KGB can hate me all they want.

          • I do understand scandal, public or not. One of the first scandals was the apostasy of many Christians during the Roman persecutions and many folks cried scandal! and wanted to cast out and keep out those who offered the burnt offerings.

            I do not know Stan; I have not heard that he is an officer of the church; I just do not know how it is my business in these parts. How is he public in matters related to the OCA? I am not aware that he even has presented himself as a member of good standing; I do know from his postings that he attended SVOTS but that’s about it.

            So, let me ask if George, Helga, Yvette or Jane or Ian or xyz if he or she is a member in good standing. If any one replies “none of your x!2X business,” that would be the right response to my impertient question. Let me close by asking a real question; what did the Lord say to those who were about to stone that poor woman?

            • I am an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the OCA. I have never been under the ban of a priest.

              And, most informatively, I have the vagina I was born with, not an inverted penis.

              I don’t say any of this with a sense of pride, because I know I certainly am not worthy of communion, and depend on the mercy of God and my spiritual father. However, there is no “oikonomia” for a sin for which one has not repented, whether it’s a homosexual relationship, or self-mutilation under the delusion that one is changing sexes. I would fully expect to be excommunicated if I did not repent for any sin I have ever committed.

              Stokoe and Drezhlo have both committed serious sins and flaunted it, and have been met with no overt correction or resistance, and that is a scandal. At the very least, we’re at Defcon Vassula here, who’s been excommunicated repeatedly for wacky teachings.

              • Too much information!!!

                I can see your point with Stokoe and Drezhlo for they are indeed public figures. Incidentally, I wish that their standing had been addressed separately from their reporting and opinions (For the record, I like Stokoe’s reporting and absolutely detest Drezhlo’s, and my evaluation of their writing has nothing to do with their anatomy or sex life).

                I am trying to figure out what exactly did Stan do in the public arena for him to have earned approbation from you and others? The only reason that I can readily see is that he has dared to post on this blog and others; hardly an action of a public figure. Also, he has not said anything that merits a personal attack, IMHO. I am waiting for information to the contrary.

                Unless, or course, the idea is that certain folks’ opinions are to be rejected out of hand because of who they are. I can think very few people and beings, whose opinions we should reject without any consideration whatsoever. Satan would be an example. So, is Stan Satan? or a pawn of Satan or somebody equally vile who merits no mercy, no consideration as a human being?

                Help me out here Helga; why the ad hominem on Stan?

                • Sorry for the TMI, Carl, but I hope you understand my point. Drezhlo, for all his kvetching about people he thinks don’t use their “real” names, has carved a whole false identity out of his self-delusion, carved even into his own flesh. And for all his wailing about the ‘konvertsy’, he is himself a false ‘konvertsy’, for no matter how deep the scalpel cut, he’s still a man underneath the female pretense.

                  Apart from that, there’s also the vicious lies he posts, like the ridiculous claim that Metropolitan Jonah is a homosexual, which is obviously a total fabrication. Every biographical material about him says he was interested in women, and came close to marrying a lady, before deciding to become a monk. The “Veronica Lake” appearance of his cell attendant is beside the point. People don’t become monastics for lack of “better” options. God can call attractive people to the angelic rank.

                  There’s also the claim that Rod Dreher is in cahoots with Gleb Podmoshensky, even though Dreher had never actually heard of Podmoshensky before Drezhlo claimed this.

                  Finally, there’s the most insane and hateful claim that SVS had Eric Iliff murdered for suing them. “Cui bono?” he asks. Iliff’s death was declared a suicide by the police, not just the church, and he received an Orthodox funeral out of mercy for the mental anguish and illness that led to his tragic death. SVS didn’t benefit from Iliff’s death: the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, and could have been brought again by his estate. (That’s based on publicly available information that I read at the time of the lawsuit’s dismissal in 2007.) I’m not saying Iliff was murdered by them, either, but the homosexual cabal in American Orthodoxy has certainly benefited from having a martyr. Drezhlo, Archbishop Lazar, and others like to throw the suicide issue into everyone’s faces for that reason.

                  I won’t say Drezhlo is a public figure simply because he has a blog, but he has posted publicly about his self-mutilation under his assumed female name, and he certainly doesn’t spare the personal lives or loved ones of other people. If he wants people to stay out of his “personal life”, he can stop his vicious attacks against other people, and then get out of my gender and stay out!

                • Carl, your criticism of Helga is infantile. La Drezhlo is a walking contradiction and her site is a cultural abomination. Leaving aside the self-mutilation and the injection of powerful hormones to stimule feminine characteristics (which I gotta tell you does not make a person stable given as they are within a few months as opposed to the lifetime they take to work on real women), just take a look at her(?) site. The narrative is insane. Love of the USSR? Hatred of the OCA and ROCOR? Accusations based on thin air (like Rod Dreher being a disciple of some Podmensky (or some Soviet luminary he never heard of). Or me being “anonymous” or a “convert.” And I won’t even go into all the ad hominem stuff. Sorry, the gal’s bloody insane. It makes me feel sorry for +Mel because this idiot believes that +Mel is the bishop who is going to ride into town and set things aright.

                  • Let’s not forget “S/he who must not be named” has also made unspeakable accusations about Archbp. Dimitri of blessed memory. At his site, he gives every evidence of being delusional/paranoid and/or a pathological, malicious liar. The best one can say about him is that he outs himself very quickly, even for the reader without a great deal of spiritual discernment (that would be me), as writing from a very dark source of “inspiration.”

                  • Helga and George–We are in agreement on Drezhlo. I never said otherwise. If you read my posts on public scandals carefully, you will see that my issue is not with Drezhlo or even Stokoe (both public figures), but the veiled accusation against “Stan,” by which I understood “Stankovich” a private figure.

                    It just occurred to me that Drezhlo’s first name could have been Stan (I just avoid her site). If that is the case, what we have here is a huge misunderstanding. Or, as Strother Martin put it, “what we here is…failure to communicate.” 🙂

                    • Sorry, Carl, I had no idea you thought I was talking about M. Stankovich. I’m not his biggest fan, either. But to answer your question, yes, Mr. Drezhlo’s first name was Stan. Some people still call him Stan routinely. Sorry for the confusion.

    • Brian McDonald says

      I’m a little slow on the uptake and also fairly new to this site, so I didn’t get these various references to Drezhlo. The light has finally switched on. I’d read her (his?) “Voices from Russia” rants on occasion, but not vary carefully, assuming they came from some hyper-conservative ROCOR type. Wrong!

      The condition of culture today sometimes makes me think that I’ve fallen asleep, am having a really bad dream, and am bound to wake up. Years ago, Malcolm Muggeridge, a former editor of the great British satirical magazine PUNCH, said there was simply no point in attempting satire in the modern world. People in real life were doing and saying things far more absurd than any satirist could possibly invent for them.

      Muggeridge said this in the sixties. What would he think today when Christian priests are defending gay “marriage,” (and gay priests are made bishops), and psychologists defend sex change operation as a healthy exercise of freedom of choice. How could a satirist invent a more absurd world than the one in which “choice” is a good thing if it means the freedom to decide to kill our preborn babies, but a bad thing if it means having the right to choose the schools are kids will go to?

      Surely the alarm clock will go off any moment and I’ll wake up in the real world

  14. If you examine the Pedalion, clergymen (this includes hieromonks and archimandrites) are released and received by hierarchs. There is no mentioning of ‘elders’. So long as Fr. Melchizedek’s bishop approved the release, it was done correctly and in order.

    Second, Bp. Melchizedek’s election and subsequent consecration were publicly known for some time. Had the elder any canonical charges against the bishop-elect, he had plenty of time to notify the Holy Synod. In practice, the time prior to an ordination or consecration is the only time that a confessor (we are assuming that the elder heard Bp. Melchizedek’s confessions) can break confidence and share with the consecrating bishops his knowledge of the candidate’s sins.

    If the elder had information and refused to release it, then it is ultimately his own sin. He had a moral obligation to speak up and he did not. Since we have not seen any of the ‘evidence’ that Bp. Melchizedek has done anything wrong, we can only assume that either the dust-up is over the elder’s ego getting a bit ruffled, or that the elder is participated in a cover-up from the time the election results were announced until the consecration.

    The test here will be what happens to the incriminating documents. Will they be turned over to Met. Jonah? He was the consecrating hierarch and has the canonical duty to launch a spiritual court if fraud took place. If he is not given the documents, it is either because those who hold them have no confidence in the documents, or they are afraid that Met. Jonah might not do anything with them.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I think many are missing the two essential points here. Why the villification of the nuns and the urgent desire to remove them from America, and why are he and Garklavs visiting 79th St?

      • Cross-post! High five! 🙂

      • Yep. Why? Most likely we’re not missing it, George. They seem to get away with everything and we can’t do anything about it. They sit on high horses, running our Church, having awful things in their lives, and get away with it. Pious people who work tirelessly for the sake of what is good are often thrown under the bus. Life is unfair. I’m not sure about the Judgment (my faith is too tiny) so I won’t be brave enough to say God will make it all okay on the other side.I hope so.

        • Jane Rachel, I think we should pray for all concerned. I actually try to because I think that those who are acting this way honestly think that (given certain peculiar circumstances), they actually think they are doing the right thing. Time will tell of course.

      • George,

        It was indeed a “raw deal” that was handed to the nuns (and Met. Jonah as well). And there could be questions raised by +Melchisidek and Fr. Alexander visiting the GOA headquarters.

        But I’m having a hard time making the leap of logic from these two data to “Bishop Melchisidek is uncanonical”.

        Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        • Reader Thomas, you’re right not to jump into an assumption here, but I think George would acknowledge that we have entered the realm of speculation. We know he had an almost pathological reaction to the DC nuns, and false rumors were spread by someone claiming that they had no release. The claim that they didn’t have a release was a lie, but the nuns were still blocked from joining the OCA and had to be released to ROCOR. We know he’s attempted to, and apparently succeeded in, meeting with GOA figures behind Metropolitan Jonah’s back. If there’s nothing to the rumors about Bishop Melchisedek’s reception, then why is he doing these things? Somehow I doubt it’s a birthday party.

        • Rdr Thomas, please re-read my posting. I didn’t say that his release (and hence his election) was uncanonical. Only that the documents are ambiguous. As I’ve said repeatedly, as far as I’m concerned, the validity of his election is for the bishops to decide (which is why I didn’t post the documents but only volunteered to send them to the proper canonical authorities).

          My concerns are three:

          1. Why the egregious actions against the nuns,

          2. Why would any bishop meddle in the affairs of another’s diocese (the nuns were in DC), and

          3. Why has Syosset deputized +Melchizedek and Garklavs to go treat with the GOA?

          That’s all I’m concerned about. If necessary, I will keep on asking these questions over and over again until I get an answer.

          • So who exactly wrote “It has come to our attention that there are enough canonical irregularities to render his election as bishop null and void.”?

          • 1. Nobody has proven that the “actions against the nuns are egregious? Sad may be, agregious? I have seen nothing but speculation and rumor.

            2. No diocesan bishop ever meddled in the affairs of the Diocese of Washington. That is indeed an egregious charge that stems from a warped interpretation of the canons and/or the Statute.If any bishop was involved in this sad affair, it was because of their additional capacities as members of the Holy Synod and/or officer of the OCA.

            3. The Holy Synod named the good bishop as Temporary Chancellor. He was within his competency to talk to other jurisdictions. Or, do you think that only the Metropolitan has that authority?

            • From the dictionary: “Egregious: conspicuously bad, extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant….” I offer:

              +Mel was connected to the nuns as it is they who nursed him through his open heart surgery, and he was their priest for years. He, who one would expect would support and succor them, was ruthless in disposing of them, and he knew they had no where to go. He demanded of +Jonah that they be removed…,

              +Mel from Pittsburgh, and +Jonah from Washington… different dioceses, right? What part of this is difficult to grasp? +Jonah said to me personally, “No, I don’t want the nuns to leave. The Synod wants them to leave.” +Jonah, without the Synod’s knowledge, signed the nun’s release to ROCAR, as he put it, “To protect them.” By the time the Synod caught wind it was too late.

              The nuns have, and have provided, proof of their completely canonical releases from Greece. They no longer ‘belonged in Greece’, as each is an American citizen, and their release was to America. It is spectacularly egregious that +Mel accused those nuns of being in America uncanonically, while he actually is!

              By the civil and canon laws of Greece, +Mel is indictable, as is the Greek Bishop who signed his fraudulent release from a monastery in Greece where +Mel has never even put his foot. Now read carefully here: THIS IS WHY +MEL IS SO INTENT ON MAKING SOMEONE, ANYONE, PUT HIM BACK IN GOOD STANDING – EVEN PHANAR -AND HE WILL DO ANYTHING HE CAN TO GET IT, EXCEPT HUMBLE HIMSELF TO HIS ELDER!!!

              The nuns were uprooted and made to leave their home, (which they had been in the process of purchasing) and to place their belongings, (generously donated by local parish faithful) in 5 locations, while they temporarily inhabit 2 different homes, which were made available to them by scandalized parishioners who understood the cowardly way these nuns were being treated. The nuns were offered temporary sanctuary. They still have no home.

              Innocent nuns put out – is this “Egregious” enough for all?

              • Anon, this sickens me. We criticize pagans and Muslims who persecute Christians, but what about when Christians persecute Christians? Is a man’s heart so hardened that he can’t see how terrible this is? Lord have mercy.

              • Yes. I believe what you wrote. It’s so unlikely you would be fabricating this as to make me rest on the bottom line that it must be true, especially when I add it together with everything else I’ve been reading. I’m there. Whew.

                (I just realized that I know exactly how the nuns feel. That is so sad. At least I’m in good company. Wish I could sit and cry in their chapel a while.)

              • Thank you anon for bits of information that were speculative until now. To quote you: “+Jonah said to me personally, “No, I don’t want the nuns to leave. The Synod wants them to leave.” +Jonah, without the Synod’s knowledge, signed the nun’s release to ROCAR, as he put it, “To protect them.” By the time the Synod caught wind it was too late.”

                – Anon knows +Jonah, and if he were to come clean with his identity, he may be considered a good source for Metropolitan Jonah’s actions and thoughts.

                – Metropolitan Jonah has confessed, according to “anon,” that he has taken action against the wishes of the Holy Synod and released to nuns to ROCOR to protect them. If “anon” was a reliable source, the grades for +Jonah would be: caring for nuns: A, caring for the Holy Synod: F.

                Nice support of your hero, anon!

                • “…the grades for +Jonah would be: caring for nuns: A, caring for the Holy Synod: F.”

                  That’s the kind of leaders we need in these times and under these circumstances. I can just see the Lord shaking the Syosset dust off His sandals and finding His way straight to the nuns’ chapel where He could meditate in peace and talk to the Father about all this.

                  Think about it.

                  • They would probably put Him on a Leave of Absence.

                  • Shouldn’t he love both groups just as much?

                    • Read It And Weep says

                      Carl, you have such a sense of humor. You must be great at a cocktail party. You still called a senior archpriest of the Church a serpent, and you have not apologized, oh wait, you did, then you didn’t, then you did, no, I think, you finally didn’t!

                      Fester called Melchizedek a “worm.” Maybe he knew what he was talking about, seeming that the good bishop of Pittsburgh certainly has wormed his way into the OCA under false pretenses!

                      You did us a big favor by “uncovering” the Petros Monastery minutes and then tried to pass them off as a canonical release letter. Nice try, but I think you only convinced Stan Drezhlo.

                      The real documents, and the bogus documents, and many other revealing documents, all part of the public record, clearly show that the bishop of Pittsburgh covered up his past, sold himself as someone he was not, and now must answer the questions as to why he went to so much trouble to do so. He will also have to answer why he tried so hard to eliminate those who knew the truth about him, in particular the DC nuns and Metropolitan Jonah.

                      Of course, all + Melchizedek would have to do is come clean, tell the truth, and I think we could move on. But, that is now up to him, isn’t it?

                      So, +Melchizedek, “Are the allegations true or false?”

                      As Stan likes to say, “pass the jug, kids. Life in the Church in never dull!”

            • The Holy Synod also fired Garklavs.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Actually, Carl, you’re 100% wrong on point #2. Another bishop did indeed interfere in the inner workings of the Archdiocese of Washington. Assuming that what Jokoe reports is accurate, that bishop would be +Mel, who (again, according to Jokoe) tried to railroad the nuns out of America and back to Greece.

      • I don’t think that you have sufficiently established a connection between the nuns and Bp. Melchizedek’s clerical transfer.

        As for the activities at 79th Street, the problem is that, as chancellor he has reason to be there on behalf of the OCA. In light of Bp. Melchizedek’s fluency in Greek, he might have a few more reasons to visit that are less than nefarious. One must also keep in mind that relations with the EP ebbed after Met. Jonah made a few comments to which the Greeks took offense, so one could even theorize that Bp. Melchizedek has been trying to bridge the gap. What we can say is that visits to the GOA offices are not circumstantial evidence of an evil plot give Bp. Melchizedek’s official capacity as chancellor.

        George, I think you know that Greeks are much more well-disposed to face-to-face communication rather than telephones. Since the GOA and the OCA have plenty of mutual concerns (clergy transfers, missions work, etc.) it is not unreasonable to assume that Bp. Melchizedek’s visits are all part of a day’s work.

        Since you appear to be not sharing all that you know, I’m having a hard time making the connections you are making.

        • Pr. George, as you should be well aware, the fact that +Mel is “chancellor” is a non-starter. His assumption of the title is the result of a failed coup d’etat againts +Jonah. The GOA knows this, hence his and Garklav’s initial rebuff by +Demetrios. The GOA may suffer from the same lack of vision that characterizes most of American Orthodoxy but I can assure you that they are not fools.

          • So, just for clarification, are you saying that the OCA has no chancellor? Is this Met. Jonah’s official stance? Does the GOA still continue not to recognize Bp. Melchizedek as the OCA’s chancellor? At one point, Met. Jonah asked him to stand down, but Bp. Melchizedek is still listed as chancellor and His Eminence has not sought for his removal. So, it is a starter because, while there was a rocky start and some disagreement, this no longer seems to be an issue. If his first visit was rebuffed, the subsequent visits were not, yes?

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              There is no OFFICIAL Chancellor. Bp. Melchizedek is the temporary chancellor while a search is being done for a PERMANENT Chancellor.

              Fr. Garklavs was the Chancellor until he was forced to step down.

              • Would you mind telling us where you got the idea that there is no official chancellor? Usually, a temporary chancellor is as official as a chancellor gets…until a permanent one is in place of course. In either case, the idea is to have somebody to act in an official capacity as Chancellor, to discharge the duties of that office. Besides, the Holy Synod, which is the supreme canonical authority of the OCA, assigned him to this position (with the agreement of +Jonah by the way).

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  I should have stated, that there is no permanent Chancellor right now, since Fr. Garklavs lost the position. My understanding is that Bishop M is the temporary chancellor until a new permanent Chancellor is found.

                  • Yes, that he is indeed the one and only, official Chancellor of the OCA until a replacement is found and put in place. Thank you for your correction.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Carl, the GOA is not treating with +Mel and Garklavs because they believe him to be the “official” chancellor of the OCA. They know the situation is unsettled (to say the least) and that he doesn’t, nor can, speak for the entire OCA. They are talking to him because of a personal matter, which if they play their cards right will result in the extinction of the OCA. But like the good Leninists in the Gulag, you and the other Stokovites will continue to convince themselves that this was all due to to some “clerical error.”

        • Fr. George, if the explanation for Bishop Melchisedek’s trips to 79th Street is as innocent as that, why did Bishop Melchisedek try to meet with Archbishop Demetrios behind Met. Jonah’s back during the funeral services for Metropolitan Nicholas? Archbishop Demetrios reportedly saw through the deception and told him to go through proper channels, in this case Fr. Mark Arey.

          • Are you in a position to talk directly with Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Jonah, Bishop Melchisedek, or support staff at central admin at OCA and GOA? I am really impressed as you seem to be hobnobbing with important folks.

            • You know, Carl, you’re an amazingly good lawyer. I’d definately consider you if I ever needed one. You’re really good at pleading your client’s (i.e. the Stokovites) case despite the fact that they’re guilty as all get-out.

              It kinda reminds me about what Solzhenitsyn wrote about all the Marxists who were imprisoned in the Gulag. They assured each other that Lenin would never do such a terrible thing, that it was due to some sort of “clerical error.”

              In other words, when it becomes apparent that your friends have succeeded in putting the OCA on the chopping block, I guess you’ll find some way to rationalize it. But then it’ll be too late, won’t it?

              • I love the second paragraph. But, unlike those who put their faith in a clerical error, I simply do not believe that the Holy Synod, to include +Melchisedek, has, is or will put the OCA on the chopping block. In my living memory, since 1970 that is, there was only one hierarch who evidenced less than full support for the OCA and that is the one who started to advocate/think aloud about maximal autonomy.

            • Yes Carl, some people are. I am.

              • Any time that I approach I approach the Holy Chalice, I tell the Lord that I am not worthy and I beg Him to have mercy on me, a sinner. So, congrats anon, I am glad for you that you are a member of good standing. I suppose I am also but the only way I suspect that is true is because my priest allows me to partake and the Lord has not yet visited me with condemnation.

              • Please excuse me for not referencing your question in my answer to you Carl, my remark is to reply to your question: “Are you in a position to talk directly with Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Jonah, Bishop Melchisedek, or support staff at central admin at OCA and GOA?” My reply was: “Yes Carl, some people are. I am.”

                • Careful Anon. Kraeff’s next step will be to try and discredit you.

                  • I rather like Anon’s refreshing candor. I certainly admire his passion. He comes across as a regular sort of fellow; just my cup of tea. Just because I disagree with him on a couple of things does not mean that I will discredit him.

                    Or, Ian James: are you projecting here?

          • I’ve heard several versions of this story, none of which have been substantiated and so I have chosen not to believe any of them. What I do know is that Bp. Melchizedek continues to act as chancellor, and that no canonical protests were lodged between the announcement of his election and his consecration. Whatever the ‘secret’ information is, I do have a right to withhold condemnation until I see it for myself. All I have to go on is that Met. Jonah continues to recognize Bp. Melchizedek as a bishop of his Synod and the Chancellor of the OCA. I also believe that if Met. Jonah had reason to think otherwise, he would have acted by now for the good of the OCA.

            The difficulty I have with the line of reasoning here is this: if the nun know ‘something’ about Bp. Melchizedek, and that these same nuns also came at the invitation of Met. Jonah, then it invites the conclusion that Met. Jonah probably knows this ‘something’ due to his relationship with the nuns. If he knows this ‘something,’ but has not acted on it, then he is liable to be accused of covering up Bp. Melchizedek’s problem, which I think is a terrible accusation.

            Furthermore, since Bp. Melchizedek was consecrated through a process overseen by Met. Jonah, the accusation that Bp. Melchizedek was improperly received places guilt upon His Eminence as the receiving hierarch. I also find this not only intolerable, but improbable. While I have no doubts that George is not intending to lay such blame upon his Metropolitan, the nature of these charges tends in that direction.

            I would like to compliment George for allowing diverse opinions to be aired here.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Thank you.

              If I may, the entire situation is unsettled. Our ecclesiology is caterwampus, in all jurisdictions, therefore, I’m not at all surprised that snafus can happen. In fact, I’m surprised that we don’t have more of them.

              Let’s also not forget that very few people in the OCA read Greek. I believe +Mel is the exception. And all pertinent letters detailing this recent imbroglio are in Greek. That fact alone opens up a can of worms. It reminds me of what happened two years ago with the great “autonomy” debate in the AOCNA, where the official documents were in Arabic and the English translations were open to debate. Ultimately, +Philip got his way because none of the white folks in the AOCNA could read Arabic and the Arabs who could, refused to translate them accurately.

    • ‘Pr. George’ (is that short for priest George?) is mistaken when he writes here:
      ‘In practice, the time prior to an ordination or consecration is the only time that a confessor (we are assuming that the elder heard Bp. Melchizedek’s confessions) can break confidence and share with the consecrating bishops his knowledge of the candidate’s sins.’

      Despite the tsarist government’s requirement that priests report any and all seditious activity — even if learned in confession — and despite the US Army’s requirement that even orthodox and RC chaplains report such matters — even if learned in confession — the canonical principle remains in effect: any priest who reveals anything he learned while witnessing a confession is ipso facto deposed from the priesthood.

      After witnessing a man’s confession for a number of years, his spiritual father is in the best possible position to endorse his ordination, or not. As sometimes happens in our seminaries, a priest (who might or might not be the man’s spiritual father) is assigned to witness what is commonly called a candidate’s ‘life confession’ — as if all the confessions made prior to the night before ordination almost didn’t count.

      In either case, whether the candidate’s confession is witnessed by his spiritual father or by a priest assigned to the task, the priest who would endorse the candidate for ordination will either do so or not. If that priest refuses to endorse the candidate, he may not required by anyone nor is he bound by any canon to reveal his reasons to anyone, and the sacred ‘privileged communication’ (in secular terms) between priest and penitent remains inviolate.

      • Monk James, a recommendation from a father confessor is by its very nature the divulging of information gained from confession. This is why the recommendation is necessary. The assumption is that the confessor knows whether the candidate has canonical impediments through hearing confessions, and thus his recommendation involves divulging information.

        After all, if the Church only wants to know whether a candidate has the right temperment, anyone could ostensibly give a recommendation. However, the Church requires the confessor to lend his approval to the candidate. Obviously, this is more than vouching that _______ is a ‘swell guy.’

        I think you are splitting hairs a bit too fine.

        • This is not about canonical impediments, but about moral fitness. It’s not possible to confess a canonical impediment, since such things aren’t sins, but issues of ecclesial law, and are often mediated and ameliorated by the bishops by virtue of their authority to exercise economy (oikonomia) for the salvation of Christians and for the welfare of The Church.

          Pr. George is wrong again here, and very confused. Where does he get these ideas?! Certainly not from the authentically orthodox catholic christian tradition. Maybe he’s not orthodox? Or an uncanonical sectarian?
          Who is his bishop?

          Among the orthodox, absolutely NO information is divulged from confession, ever, under any and all circumstances. As I mentioned earlier, any priest who makes known anything he learned while witnessing a confession is ipso facto and automatically deposed from the priesthood, with no recourse.

          When a candidate for ordination (usually as a deacon, since that’s the first step in the priesthood, but things could happen between then and prospective ordination to the presbyterate) is endorsed to go forward, his spiritual father (or the priest assigned to witness his confession) is NOT required to give a reason for that endorsement.

          Likewise, if the man is NOT endorsed to go forward, his spiritual father (or the priest assigned to witness his confession) is NOT required to give a reason for that lack of endorsement.

          The priest or spiritual father who witnesses the confession of a man about to be ordained divulges NOTHING of that man’s confession; he merely attests his opinion as to whether or not that man ought to be ordained.

          Generally, this opinion is taken seriously by the bishops.

          How much more clear can I make this principle?

          Pr. George ought to go back to school, if he’s ever been there, and not undermine the holiness and confidentiality of confession as it is practiced in our time among the orthodox.

          • Well, I can tell this isn’t going to be much of a conversation! LOL
            You cannot separate the knowledge a father confessor has of a candidate through confession versus what is not learned in confession. That defies logic and the reason why the Church asks the confessor. he does not have to divulge details (on that we can agree), but the mere fact that one who has access to the confession AND is asked to give his opinion as to whether the candidate can be ordained or not naturally leads to the divulging of some information obtained through confession, either good or bad.

            I’m not going to argue with you on this, because it really does not involve you or I, but the bishops. I know what my bishop expects of the father confessor (having gone through the process, ready the paperwork, etc.). Your bishop (I trust after your release from Met. Herman that you have a bishop now) perhaps expects differently, but they do the ordaining, not us.

            The point is, that if there was a canonical irregularity, the elder had plenty of time to report it if indeed all this is true.

            • Pr George, then if that is the case, no seminarian should go to confession or otherwise have a spiritual father. Your distinction is Jesuitical. Just becase a father-confessor upon hearing a candidate’s life confession cannot give an approval for his ordination does not mean he has broken the seal of the confessional. If that were the case then any Orthodox Christian who is under the ban of a priest and cannot take Communion has likewise had his privacy violated. The end result of such sophistry is that we should confess our sins only to God and leave the intermediary out of it.

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                George Michlopoulos writes:

                “Your distinction is Jesuitical.”

                As a former student of the Jesuits, I believe them to be very clear thinkers, George.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Fr Patrick, my own experience with Jesuits is admittedly second and third-hand. However, in most all narratives that have come to me from my orthodox Catholic friends (and a very conservative Lutheran pastor), a very vivid picture of moral and theological laxity is painted. (The dissipated lives of the Jesuits as portrayed in the movie The Exorcist is very close to the truth.)

                  This of course is rather sad as the Jesuits were know for their keen, logical minds and erecting outstanding universities.

              • I’m not sure one would consider my distinction Jesuiticial. What I’m actually saying is that it is functionally impossible for most father confessors to make a distinction between the information they receive in confession and making a recommendation. They learn about a candidate from hearing his secrets, but then are asked to divulge those secrets, albeit in the most general terms and only insofar as they would make him an inappropriate candidate, by recommending the candidate for ordination.

                The truth is that the sins of a clergyman are, to some degree, a public affair. They are widely discussed all over the internet, and the fact that clerical discipline is a matter of public record should make this obvious to everyone. While laypeople have an expectation of absolute confidentiality in their confessions and how their sins are dealt with (depending on how closely their fellow parishioners track one another’s reception of sacraments), clerical sins are dealt with in a formalized manner in which their secrets in many cases become known. This does not mean that a confessor is free to divulge the details of what he knows whenever he feels like it, which is why I specified the lightening of this strictness in this one certain aspect. It is necessary and rare (as rare as ordinations and consecrations are), but it prevents later and more public airing of sins should the candidate be unveiled as inappropriate.

                Given all the concern shown here about the clergy being a ‘dumping ground,’ you would understand the importance of the father confessor’s recommendation and how this, to a degree, represents the divulging of secrets, though not in a bad way. Candidates know that if they have problems that will impede their ministry they should not seek ordination. The only seminarian who will have problems with this process is one who is guilty of significant sins and wants to ‘slip through’ the net by confessing his sins but not submitting to the standards of the Church. The father confessor is the one who is supposed to tell the Church the candidate is appropriate from the view of one who sees the man in his most vulnerable and therefore honest state.

                If you want to know how ‘Lavendar Mafias’ get established, it is when father confessors simply nod and waive on candidates they know to have serious problems, but decide that to say ‘no’ would be divulging too much information. To keep absolutely pure, a father confessor would not object to anyone. Only then could he not be accused of divulging a confidence.

                After all, if he said ‘no,’ how could anyone tell for sure he was objecting on mere peronality grounds, or something he learned in confession? That’s what I would call a ‘Jesuiticial distinction.’

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            In the OCA, and before that, the Russian Metropolia, candidates for ordination must, just prior (usually on the eve) to the actual laying on of hands, have made a full life confession to their (or a) spiritual father. They must also take an oath before the precious Cross and the book of Gospels. They must certify to this on a certificate. Below the place for a candidate to sign, there is a block labelled “Certificate of Spiritual Father” in which is space for about 5 lines of typing and then a line onto which the Priest who heard the life confession puts his signature. For an ordination to proceed, the Spiritual Father must state in that block that he has heard the life’s confession of the candidate. It is expected (and found on 99 per cent of the certificates on file at the Chancery and in the Archives) that the Priest will add the words, “and there are no impediments to ordination.” After that block, there’s a block for the ordaining Bishop, of the same size, into which the Bishop enters ‘I, N, Bishop of N. ordained X to the Holy Priesthood/Diaconate at X date and at X parish. Then he signs it.
            I was astonished one day, when reading through my diocesan personnel files, which I was reorganizing, to find the following remark by an Archpriest, now retired and living in Minnesota, which went like this: “i have heard the confession of X. He has (my caps) REPENTED OF ALL CANONICAL IMPEDIMENTS.”
            I think that merits several exclamation points, because the man was ordained anyhow and is now a learned archimandrite and candidate for a vacant see in the OCA. The ordaining Bishop fell asleep years ago, so there is no way to confront him and ask him, “Did you actually READ this before you ordained X?” j
            I would also like to add to Monk James’s summary that for centuries, the Russian Church has provided newly ordained clergy with a certificate called “stavlennaya grammata.” In it , all the duties and responsibilities and obligations of the ordained are spelled out in detail. It takes the form of an hierarchical charter. The following clause is to be found in that certificate/charter: “to bind and to loose with good judgment those confessing their consciences to him according to the canons of the Holy Apostles, and the teaching of the God-bearing Fathers, according to the norms of the Holy Orthodox Church, and according to our admonition and injunction; to (my caps) BRING AND LAY BEFORE US GREATER AND MORE COMPLEX FAULTS…”
            This is what the Church does, relating to a couple of Monk James’s posting

            • I am grateful to Bp Tikhon for corroborating the tsarist russian corruption of the Tradition which I mentioned in my earlier post.

              The inviolabilty of the secrecy of confession remains in place no matter what pressures may be brought to bear on the priests/spiritual fathers who witness confessions which — after all — are made to Christ, not TO any human being. As the attendant prayers clearly state, the priest is ‘but a witness’.

              The priest must be there, since he has the authority, by grace of his office, to ‘bind and loose’, but that’s as far as it goes. When a spiritual father/mother who is not a priest witnesses a confession which includes a sin which would exclude someone from eucharistic communion, the penitent is then sent to a priest for absolution and eucharistic reinstatement.

              God forbid that any human beings, priests or not, feel that they can, might, or must reveal anything overheard in confession.

              This is slightly different from the practice of The Church before 321 and the end of the roman persecution. In those protochristian years, it was customary for people to make a public confession for sins in three major areas: adultery, apostasy (idolatry), and murder. We inherited this from jewish practice. The penances imposed were strict and lasted for years.

              However: Since the 4th century, it’s become our practice, even for the laity, to follow the monastic custom of individual and confidential confession.

              This is no more and no less true for our ordinary and (we hope) regular confessions than it is for the confessions (perhaps unfairly and unchristianly) demanded of candidates for the offices of deacon, priest, and bishop. Their regular confessions in the presence of their spiritual fathers should be enough. Or are the words ‘then, having no further thought for your sins….’ totally meaningless?

              If the Church of Russia still insists on a proviso that priests reveal the sins of anyone, under any conditions, then the Church of Russia remains in contradiction of the authentically orthodox catholic Tradition, just as wrongly as under the tsars.

              May it not be so, Lord! And may it most especially not be so in the OCA!

              • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                If I’m not mistaken,that law was taken off the books in Tsarist Russia sometime before the revolution.Perhaps His Grace Bishop Tikhon would have the specifics?
                Not evrything in Tsarist Russia was ideal,and I say this as a Monarchist by conviction.Tsar Peter abolished the Patriarchate and had the bishop’s throne removed from the churches(he didn’t want anyone besides himself seated on a throne;that’s why today’s Russian bishop presides from the center of the church,instead of from the side throne as his Greek counterpart).
                Then there was the Oberprocurator Pobedonostsev;like J.Edgar Hoover he had far too much power for far too long….

                • My point was merely to observe that this unconscionable law was ever on the books in Russia in the first place. Where else in the orthodox oikoumene did such a law ever exist?!

                  And if the Church of Russia maintains this vile and antichristian custom in force even now in the 21st century, the Church of Russia must correct itself and shake off the last shackles of its persecution, suffered either under the communists or the tsarists before them.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    I suppose Monk James will just have to bite the bullet and quote the canons and the Fathers on “The Sacred Secrecy of The Confessional!” All most Americans know is what they see in the movies and read in histories of Roman Catholic obsession with disciplinary minutiae and their powerful influence over Westernized jurisprudence. We all could benefit from hearing what the Holy Fathers opined about The Sacred Secrecy of The Confessional. No doubt, the Holy Fathers that support Monk James must just HATE it that the Orthodox confess and hear confessions right out in public in front of the congregation, instead of in a Secret Dark Box, hidden from the Faithful! And Tsar Peter should be slapped for dispensing with one of those Patriarchates which St. Justin (Popovich) characterized so warmly! As for the “Stavlennaya grammata” I got a goodly supply of them in a beautifully lithographed version from Metropolitan Herman, and used to have the Archdeacon bestow one of the Newly Ordained, after I read the whole thing aloud. Strange that there were no outcries from prominent and scholarly Orthodox Priests from Paris, Berlin, Prague, etc., who were required to maintain their grammatas and produce them on demand.

                    • Over the years, I’ve observed that many orthodox pastors take penitents into a room apart from the nave to witness their confessions, perhaps the prothesis chapel or the vestry. Even when confessions are made in the nave, they’re usually off to one side and not audible to the people standing nearby. In fact, even some of the russian handbooks for the clergy stipulate that someone should be reading the psalms aloud during confessions if there’s no other service going on at the moment.

                      The whole point is that we want to encourage the very sort of ‘sacred secrecy’ which Bp Tikhon mocks here.

                      No, I wouldn’t start quoting chapter and verse here; on this matter, the Tradition of confidentiality in confession is easily enough accessible.

                      But I’d ask: In Bp Tikhon’s experience, has any priest, by virtue of this odd (only russian ?) gramota, ever revealed a confession to him or to the other bishops of the OCA?

                      A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reply will do nicely to tell us all we need to know.

            • For the sake of completeness, I will note that our friend at Spartion Geometrias has returned with a comment critical of Bishop Tikhon’s post above.

              I will first point out that while Bishop Tikhon could have showed more discretion and left out the identifying information, I had no idea who Bishop Tikhon was talking about until Spartion Geometrias made a point of highlighting the identifying information.

              Also, I would not think this constitutes divulging a confession. It is not divulging a confession to say whether or not a certain candidate has impediments for ordination. Is it proper to take that and put it on the internet? I wouldn’t think so, but if this were a violation of the privacy of confession, “Spartion” could have pursued this through appropriate channels so that Bishop Tikhon could be disciplined by the Synod. The fact that he/she hasn’t tells me that he/she doesn’t really believe this violates confessional privacy, it’s only a ploy to score some points for the disaffected hipster “I don’t really like Stokoe, but I know I’m absolutely superior to everyone who posts at Monomakhos” faction.

              But just like with the “ZOMG!!1! ARCHBISHOP SERAPHIM IS VISITING A PARISH!” attempt at a manufactured crisis from three days ago, this is much ado about nothing. It’s just a game of “take this flimsy framework, throw the biggest charge you can think of onto it, and hope popular ignorance and hysteria will fill in the rest.”

              • Helga–I never expected Spartion to blog again. Thanks for alerting me to his newest posting, which was spot on, astute and wise as usual.

                • Lol. Carl, you are such a caricature of…. yourself! Thanks once again for the laugh.

                • his newest posting, which was spot on, astute and wise as usual.


                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Carl, let me go Herc one farther: not only was the confessional not breached (because this information about “canonical impediments” was written on an official document) but thanks to the miracle fo the internet (and of course, Accountability and Transparancy), it is now inevitable and necessary that this information be made public.

                  I for one believe in the direct elections of our bishops (provided the laymen in question are themselves of good canonical standing).

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Helga! Thanks for bringing this “Spartion” whatever to my attention! My posting of the “repented of all impediments” anecdote was by way of yet another Polish Joke, obviously. It is, of course, IMPOSSIBLE to repent of any impediments whatsoever. Impediments, such as, for example, blindness, deafness, lameness, multiple church marriages, and so on, are not sins. Not all sins are impediments, just as all impediments are not sins. It was just dumb and unthinking for such a prominent M.Div from SVS to write such nonsense. I brought this matter personally and privately to the attention of Metropolitan Theodosius, and years later, to Metropoliltan Herman . They had the option of conferring with the potential candidate and resolving the issues I just mentioned. I’ve presumed this has been done. If not, then that’s too bad.
                Although I retired honorably and had not been asked by anyone st all to do so, I have not been contacted by mail, email, postcard by any member of the OCA episcopate since I retired, save Bishop Nikolai and one phone call from the kind Bishop Nikon of the Albanian diocese. Yes,
                Bishop Benjamin has occasionally emailed me to announce an impending visit of his to Los Angeles relative to certain pertinent details, such as wanting to serve alone. On my part, I called Metropolitan Jonah once, and I sent a message to
                Bishop Melchizedek once, but that’s it: no replies. I got a form in the mail with no accompanying letter on which I registered to attend the All-American Council to be held out here around Halloween with my check for $150.00, but although the check was cashed according to my bank on the 7th of September, I have yet to hear anything in reply. I guess widowed Priests’ wives are treated better than retired Hierarchs….maybe that’s just—it evens the sexist balance!
                I have to agree with this “Spartion” on one item: I only agreed to CONSENT to be a candidate for the vacant San Francisco see when after many and vigorous and unsuccessful attempts by me and other leading parish priests to have a diocesan election assembly held to fill our vacancy===after all, the very learned monastic Priest, Alexander Golitzin was for some time a clergyman of our diocese, widely known and respected, with a doctorate from Oxford and tonsure on the Holy Mountain: it seemed unconscionable for the Holy Synod not to bless us to proceed with an election. Finally, at the AAC in Washington DC, my good friend and fellow parish rector, Fr. Basil Rhodes, told me he had been informed that if I would only CONSENT to have my name “put into consideration”, then Metropolitan Theodosius had assured him the election could be held. The stated reason was that His Beatitude was concerned about criticism that the Holy Synod was making it impossible to elect anyone but their chosen nominees and that the diocesan election was such in name only, the result having been pre-determined and pre-approved. So I told Father Basil “Go ahead then, if that’s what it takes.” I don’t mind if anyone contacts Fr. Basil to confirm this: it’s been done before. I came home from Washington relieved, assured that we would now proceed to hold an election and Father Alexander would be on the path to becoming our Bishop. I still remember the Diocesan Assembly which ensued: Father Alexander and i walked together to place out votes into the ballot box. Surely, it’s a toss-up to say now who was more shocked at the final tally: Father Alexander or I, for I somehow got a clear majority. My only hope was, as I said to myself, “The Holy Synod will surely show good sense and pick Fr. Alexander.” It was not to be. “Spartion” seems to be suffering some kind of obsession with what he perceives as my evil character and publicizing his bitter enmity. Good! According to Holy Scripture, such vilification will count in my favor relative to my salvation.
                As for Heracleides, I feel for him. When people act like Carl does, it threatens to put good caricurists, like Heracleides, out of a job!!! To caricature Carl would be “gilding the lily.”

                • Lucky thing I still checked that blog once in a while, even though it had been almost four months since it last had anything posted on it.

                  Your Grace, you may also be interested to learn that I noticed “Spartion Geometrias” is an anagram for “Priest Egomania Rots”. Also, “Magistrate Poisoner” and “Arrogates Pimientos”.

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Now THAT’S funny! I have a feeling our friend Spation is some Syosset functionary.

      • So how do some of these bishops get ordained? Honestly. Sigh. I am inclined to believe it’s more likely those “impediments to ordination” would have been left out of the confession in the first place.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Pr George, The Rudder is rarely if ever used anymore as I understand it. This is unfortunate if you ask me but paradoxically, it may be a blessing because if it was, then nobody could stand for bishop.

      As for the original release letter, I am told that it does exist but that +Mel did not want it released as it detailed the list of his actions against his Abbott. While I don’t have the actual release letter, I do have a letter dated April of this year in which mention is made of the Release Letter. Whether this is of import to the HS of the OCA is secondary at this point, but I can assure you that a bishop in Greece is sweating bullets right now because the entire process was horribly mismanaged and in violation of civil law (to say nothing of ecclesiastical law). That means that the bishop in question could be facing jail time.

      So who has the Release Letter? It appears that HS does. He could of course make it public and put this entire imbrogloio to rest once and for all but sources who have seen the letter tell me that he would rather it not be made part of the public record. Why? Because it would raise more questions, which had they come to light might have disinclined the HS from electing him as bishop in the first place.

      Regardless, the fact that there is a release letter would seem to militate against your contention that The Rudder does not mention release letters from Abbotts. Even if this is true, the common practice now appears to be the opposite, that such release letters are indeed necessary if a monastic wants to leave the monastery of his tonsure.

  15. I’m getting a little lost in the who’s who and who did what to/with who when. Not to mention the “why” of it all, but… I guess… not knowing the why is what keeps us all reading. The basic question is a good one though: Why would officials of the OCA go to 79th Street?

    • Because officials of the OCA do visit other chanceries to coordinate matters. They even go overseas–check out the travels of Father Kishovsky, the Director of External Affairs.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        That’s extremely naive Carl. During +Jonah’s forced “recuperation,” all ordinations and other church business was put on hold. The Phanar is very aware of the fluid nature of things in the OCA and there’s no rush on their part to engage with the OCA when the entire situation is far from settled. Indeed, it would be foolish for anybody to do so.

        In fact, I’ll go farther than this: because there is no official chancellor, the GOA made every effort to keep these negotiations quiet. This is very back-door. There is no way that the GOA was going to be seen on a level playing field with the OCA, most especially with a disgraced ex-chancellor.

        • So now our esteemed host knows better than the Holy Synod. The Holy Synod names somebody to be acting, official Chancellor and that is not good enough for George. By Jove, will wonders ever cease?

          Of course Monomakhos is apparently following the same journalistic techniques that he finds so objectionable when performed by others. I suppose that the ends do justify the means.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Carl, having read Jokoe’s latest incontinence, I would like to ask you to stop worshiping our Holy Synod so much. The fact that they can’t pull the plug on the superfluous Metropolitan Council, which acted as a bunch a braying jackasses at our Primate tells me all I need to know about them. How unconscionable.

            For the record, I deal almost daily with street people, who are almost all stinking, unkempt, sometimes insane (some of whom have tried to hold me up), and yet I would never in a million years treat one of them the way HB was treated by those yahoos at the most recent MC meeting. Admittedly, I’m going by what your hero Jokoe reported but I have a feeling he accurately reported their low-class attitudes accurately. Of course, I’m sure he was so hurt that he and the Priest-Who-Got-Bitten-by-a-Dog weren’t there to pile on HB. You know, Drezhlo has an excuse for the way s/he behaves, what with all the hormones injections. What’s Garklav’s et als, excuse?

            You applaud these people? You can have them.

            Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.

        • George wrote:

          In fact, I’ll go farther than this: because there is no official chancellor, the GOA made every effort to keep these negotiations quiet. This is very back-door. There is no way that the GOA was going to be seen on a level playing field with the OCA, most especially with a disgraced ex-chancellor.

          I think that makes sense. I was thinking the same thing before you wrote it and like I said, I don’t know nuthin’.

  16. Just a point of journalism, when publishing a “leaked” document, it’s customary either quote the document directly, describe the nature of it, or at least offer somewhat specific information about its content. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  17. I am quite confident that Metropolitan Jonah is up to the task of protecting the interests of the OCA. It surprises me that those of you who purportedly support him don’t give him more credit. Surely he is smart enough to know what his bishops are up to. If he thought your autocephaly was in jeopardy, he would intervene. If Bishop Melchizedek were a problem, he could use all the ammunition you alluded to to get rid of him. In addition, the DC nuns with the story to tell are still here and they’re not talking! If they had been shipped back to Greece, they could have picked up the phone so why would Bishop Melchizedek risk getting them angry at him? – This source of yours may have a vivid imagination.

    • Gail, I have little doubt that Metropolitan Jonah knows about whatever is going on. He’s not stupid. The problem is that there are a lot of people who want him hamstrung, or gotten rid of altogether. There are several examples over the past several months where Metropolitan Jonah has been actively prevented from exercising his prerogatives under the canons and the OCA statute. This situation cannot be tolerated.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Helga, isn’t interesting how quickly some people forget all that they have tried to do to hamstring +Jonah?

      • I realize that and I understand your concerns. Call me naive, but I believe God put him where he is because we’re at a very critical juncture in our quest for one united Orthodox Church in this country. I think Metropolitan Jonah is going to be the catalyst. He’s survived the shenanigans of almost an entire synod gunning for him. God had to be protecting him. You couldn’t be in better hands. There may be some twists and turns up ahead, but the OCA will survive and perhaps metamorphose into something much bigger and better. – It’s possible he told Bishop Melchizedek to fix his problem and that’s why he was seen talking to the GOA.

        • You make a good point, Gail. My prayer is that Metropolitan Jonah’s experience will only serve to cut him loose from the world and stretch out his hands to grasp the hem of the Lord’s garment, to paraphrase St. Nikolai Velimirovic.

          But the real major concern is not with Metropolitan Jonah, so much as his persecutors. Whether he was actually guilty or not, it’s appalling that a bishop was able to shut down a sexual misconduct investigation of himself. It scares me that the DC nuns were slandered so forcefully and effectively that Metropolitan Jonah had to release them to ROCOR to protect them.

          I agree that Metropolitan Jonah had to have been protected by God to have survived February. And I have faith that even if they succeed in removing him at some point, “his enemies cannot touch his life.”

          But what about the others?

          What about those that they have hurt or will hurt?

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          G. I too believe that the Holy Spirit placed +Jonah where he is. As for the rest of your commentary, I pray you are correct.

  18. Okay, George, perhaps they weren’t “leaked,” or you didn’t “publish” them, but I’m still confused. “We have had in our possession for several months now documents from monasteries and diocesan offices in Greece which paint an unflattering picture of the putative bishop and the manner in which he returned to America. They were sent to me by a source in Greece. (Because of the sensitive nature of these documents, I will not publish them electronically but will send them if asked via registered mail to any diocesan bishops who requests them.)” You put this out as a weighty issue, “probably the most difficult posting that I have yet made.” You continue the “information which I am about to reveal is explosive.” You imply that that documents in question were given uniquely to you by “sources in Greece,” yet offer no details about their nature or content, other than that the details of the controversy surrounding +Mel in Greece are “opaque” to you. It’s hard to see where your “revelation” ends and your conjecture begins. If you, perhaps rightly, see this a sensitive issue to be handled by the Synod, you should perhaps simply send them the documents in question. If you’re going to publish something, publish it, if you’re not, don’t. The combination of conjecture that claiming that a document exists and offering no information about it, simply confuses the issue.

    • It’s probably a very sticky situation. I’m pretty sure George wants to be very careful with what he publishes.

      I know the Orthodox Church moves like molasses, but I would like to understand nothing happened for more than a year after the first release papers from Petra Monastery – written Dec. 13, 2008 – were written and promised to be delivered to Met. Jonah “herewith.” If Archimandrite Melchisedek was released right away, why didn’t he return to the US sooner? Metropolitan Jonah waited more than a year before he wrote to Metropolitan Cyril asking for him to facilitate the release. The papers seem to have been hand-delivered to Metropolitan Cyril in Kaditsas from the Petras Monastery right away, so he must have had them all that time.


      On April 2, 2009, Archimandrite Melchisedek was elected Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America. He returned to the US

      On Saturday, June 27, 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America consecrated Archimandrite Melchisedek Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Allison Park, PA

      What is up with that? Is that a typo? The period after “He returned to the US” is missing.

      As my Dad used to say, “The thought plickens.”

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        JR, thanks for pointing that out. I overlooked it myself. It is interesting, isn’t it. The thought does indeed plicken.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Matt, I never said that they weren’t “leaked,” only that I didn’t “publish” them. It appears from several other posts here from other correspondents that I’m not the only one who has access to some or all of these documents. The fact that some have taken to publishing them on my website is no discredit to me but certainly no credit to them. In fact, as Mr Kraeff has found, I tried to block access to them. In this, I was temporarily successful.

      • It appears from several other posts here from other correspondents that I’m not the only one who has access to some or all of these documents. The fact that some have taken to publishing them on my website is no discredit to me but certainly no credit to them

        George, now I’m confused. I thought those documents were public knowledge.

        • JR, you’re right they’re in the public domain but for the most part unaccessible. Or let me put it this way: if you didn’t know about them or the events they purport to describe, you wouldn’t go looking for them. Like me. If they weren’t given to me I wouldn’t have even suspected that there were any (alleged) irregularities.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Matt, what I meant by “opaque” was the nature of the actions by the bishop in question at his original monastery. I was never told what these actions were but that they involved “disagreements” within the brotherhood. Now mind you, these disagreements could be petty in our eyes (did he ask for an increase in bread rations during Lent? 100 less genuflections per day during Lent? etc.) but within the rarefied circles that monastics travel in, they can be considered as of paramount importance. I still don’t know and I don’t want to know. As far as I’m concerned, his election as bishop is an accepted fact.

      What does bother me are some of his actions that have transpired since his election. These actions may have been instigated on his behalf by some of his more rabid partisans but they are troubling nonetheless. That these partisans failed in most of their machinations was cause for concern. Note the word “was.” The more recent overtures to the Phanar are still in play, and need to be addressed.

      • George wrote: “As far as I’m concerned, his election as bishop is an accepted fact.”

        Maybe it’s just too messy to deal with or be too concerned about. It’s like a mystery to me, hard to let go of. Since it’s not something to toy with, maybe we should all just let it go. Maybe it’s not as serious as some of the other issues. We need good bishops.

  19. Fair enough, but you’re only confusing the issue with the thunderous language you made in the original post. You have documents that suggest, it might have happened one way, then again it might have happened the other way. I really fail to see how the GOA would be any position to rectify the alleged situation. For “explosive” information that could render and episcopal election “null and void” that’s a lot of smoke and no fire. The hyperbolic introduction does no service to the non-revelation. Stokoe might call it “throwing sand in the eyes.”

    • Matt, that’s a fair assessment. Like I said, the concerns that drove my original posting were ultimately based on some pretty good intel from my sources in the GOA. Please note, that it doesn’t make sense to me how +Mel and Garklavs could be negotiating away the autocephaly of the OCA but that’s what I was told. I was also told by others (within the OCA), that Kishkovsky has been making these same noises for some time now. So we’re dealing with a confluence of factors here, all seeming to point in the direction of “re-imagining” the autocephaly of the OCA. If +Jonah has to be thrown overboard to make this happen, that’s just icing on the cake for the Stokovites.

  20. So while we worry about Bishop Melchizadek visiting the Greeks look at what else is going on…what is happening to the OCA? Is it becoming the Mad Hatters Tea Party?


    • I don’t really see what the problem is. The announcement said nothing about Archbishop Seraphim celebrating any of the divine services. Archbishop Seraphim is allowed to attend services and spend time with friends, which apparently include this parish in Victoria. There is nothing to suggest that he will have unsupervised contact with minors.

      The only part that gives me pause is the part about the “official installation of Fr. Larry”, but as long as whatever that entails doesn’t involve Archbishop Seraphim celebrating a service in contravention to the direction he has received from the Synod, there’s no problem.

  21. Sorry to get off topic. Is it true that the voices from russia “woman” is indeed a man who had “alterations” to his body and now dresses as a woman? I was also told that he/she has a bone to pick with the oca because she was denied communion with the oca because of her “changes”? I don’t mean to be rude or prying but wanted to see if this was true, thank you in advance.

    • Yes, it’s true, the Voices from Russia “woman” is actually a man who suffers from the delusion that he is a woman, and has had surgery to bring his body in compliance with his delusion. He had to leave the ROCOR church in Albany, New York for this reason, and has some bitter past postings on his blog bashing that parish. I believe he attends an OCA church in Ballston Lake and occasionally visits the Greek church in Schenectady.

      I honestly don’t know for sure that he is allowed to commune there, but I think it is a scandal that he is allowed to present himself as an Orthodox Christian in good standing with no public argument or correction from Orthodox authorities.

      • Yes. She is a transsexual. She is bitter about a lot of things and bashes just about everybody. I think she has even bashed this site on occasion. When I said that gay people should be treated like everybody else when it comes to having sex outside of marriage, she said she was glad I wasn’t a priest! Pretty funny, really. When you think about it, isn’t it discriminatory presume that gay people don’t have the moral fiber to resist having sex like the rest of us do? Because I am heterosexual, is their a special gene that I possess that enables me to do the right thing that is missing in a gay person? I don’t think so. No one is entitled to sex just because of their sexual orientation. It’s not being gay that’s the problem. It’s acting on it.

        • G. Sheppard says:
          It’s not being gay that’s the problem. It’s acting on it

          Unless I misread, the consensus on this forum is that being gay is the problem? Acting on it, only exacerbates the problem?

          • Michael Bauman says

            Sin is the problem. Attempting to change a sin into a virtue is the problem. We should be grateful to homosexual activists as they are forcing us to take a look at what the Church actually teaches regarding human sexuality and conform our behavior to that no matter what temptations we face and no matter what society says is OK.

            Any sex outside marriage and some types of sex inside marriage are not blessed. Continence, chastity and repentance are required of all of us.

            As my wife pointed out to me last evening, God made these rules for us because He knows what is best for us. Mostly we through tantrums like a badly behaved 5 year old in a candy store when we are faced with the not being able to get our own way especially when it comes to sex.

            What I don’t see among hetrosexuals is a lobby demanding that the sins of fornication and adultery no longer be called sins bur virtues instead.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Yes, Gail, being sexual is the problem.

            • I appreciate Bishop Tikhon’s response, because my understanding of the Church’s teaching on these matters is that we’re not responsible for what we think; we’re responsible for what we do. I’m not suggesting that being gay isn’t a “problem,” because I’m sure it is; however, thoughts and desires are not, in and of themselves, sinful unless they materialize. Of course there is a danger in entertaining thoughts like these because the more bandwidth you give them, the more likely they are to occur.

              • Gail wrote:

                “…we’re not responsible for what we think…” and “…thoughts and desires are not, in and of themselves, sinful unless they materialize…”

                Did you just say humans are not responsible for what we think? Thoughts and desires are not sinful unless they materialize?

                Did you want to rephrase that?

                I would say being human, that is, having brains capable of thinking whatever we like, is the problem. Animals are sexual and they don’t sin. It’s what we do inside our heads, before we ever act or don’t act, that is crucial. “Whatsoever a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Prov. 23:7.

                An old joke:

                Descartes walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Do you want a drink?” and Descartes says, “I think not,” and disappears.

                • Re: “Whatsoever a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

                  An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

                  “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

                  The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

                  The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

                  • Perfect. That story really hit the spot this morning, Gail. Adding smiley face because I can: 🙂

              • Gail, if I understand what is taught within Orthodoxy on the nature of our spiritual warfare, being tempted does not automatically make us sinful (and perhaps this is what you have in mind when you talk about SSA, in and of itself, not being sinful). My understanding is that this is true so long as we are resisting sinful thoughts and temptations, i.e., not entertaining them as properly “ours.” These thoughts, though, are, by definition, in and of themselves sinful, such as the thought that “I want to engage in sex with a member of the same sex”, but, the adjective “sinful” in this case doesn’t belong to us *until the point at which we actually begin to interact with and entertain these thoughts interjected by the enemy, and then own them as properly as “ours.”* Sin originates outside us (that is, outside our true nature hidden in Christ). Even though we may receive many such thoughts as darts aimed at our mind, we need not necessarily own them. Inasmuch as persistent SSA and SSA identity indicates a person’s having identified with and internalized these thoughts and temptations (not usually a fully-conscious and willful process, to be sure), the SSA is a sinful inclination, with real negative ramifications for our process of salvation and has to be rejected and fought. Unfortunately, our cunning enemy knows the kind of wounds and vulnerabilities the sins against us have created in our individual makeup, so he knows very well which variety of sinful thoughts are likeliest to go all the way in and be owned by us as ours. He does not fight fair. For this reason, though we must never be fooled into thinking SSA is not a disordered sinful condition (like any other disordered sinful condition, to be sure), we must also refrain from judgment of our suffering brothers and sisters, but rather must, in full solidarity with them, take them into our hearts and continually before the throne of God “to find help in time of need.”

                Bp. Tikhon, since the Tradition teaches God made us male and female, and pronounced our creation “very good,” can you clarify what you mean by “being sexual is the problem?”

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  Aw, shucks, Karen! And after all that fine writin’, too!
                  The creation was followed by the fall. God outlined some problems for us at that time. Here is one of them: ” Unto the woman He said, ‘…and thy desire shall be to thy husband…” So, into gender was introduced sexuality.
                  On another topic, in Karen’s essay we find support for the idea that Satan of male gender.
                  Then, there’re the wonderful words transmitted to us by Isaiah: “I create evil…”

                  • Thank you, Your Grace, for that clarification. Please don’t misunderstand me–these are honest questions. If I understand you now, it is that the Genesis narrative teaches being gendered isn’t the problem, but sexual lust/sexual activity is, even subsumed within godly love in Christian marriage?

                    My Protestant background is now showing, I fear. I had thought that notion (as well as the notion that “original sin” is passed on by the sexual act) was an Augustinian distortion that developed into Roman Catholic heresy, not a genuine patristic Orthodox teaching. Guess, I’d better go have a talk with my Priest. . . .

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    Your Grace, pardon me for pointing out that the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” came before the fall and immediately after the creation of man “male and female.” (Gen. 1:27-28) Also, in the place of the English word “desire” in Gen. 3:16, the Septuagint has the Greek word apostrophe, which suggests not sexual desire but dependence or clinginess, if you will. When researching my 1998 book The Scandal of Gender: Early Christian Teaching on the Man and the Woman, I don’t think I ever came across an early Church Father who took it to mean sexual desire.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      I should add that the Hebrew word translated as “desire” appears only three times in the Old Testament (Gen. 3:16, Gen. 4:7, Song of Solomon 7:10). Its use in Song 7:10 is ambiguous, but its use in Gen. 4:7 is clearly not sexual: It refers to Abel’s subjection to Cain, paralleling Eve’s subjection to Adam.

                      Also, rather than dependence or clinginess, it might be better to say that both the Hebrew and the Greek words suggest not sexual lust but personal orientation: Eve looked to Adam as her head (away from the serpent to which she had hearkened), and Abel looked to Cain as his older brother.

                    • Dn. Brian Patrick, thanks for that information. I did also kind of wonder how the “Be fruitful and multiply” blessing and command could have been blamelessly obeyed then in a prelapsarian world.

                      Helga, thanks. I started to listen a while ago to Fr. Behr’s talk on AFR. I’ll have to pick that up again and listen to the whole thing.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      There were some Fathers who imagined that, had man not fell, the multiplying would have been by some other, more innocent means, as well as some who said that the fruitfulness and multiplying refers to an increase of faith and good deeds, but none of that is set in stone as the only way to interpret the passage, and so we need not assume that our sexuality derives only from the fall and is therefore inherently unhealthy and always a problem.

                      Heterosexual attraction does appear to be natural and therefore blameless, even if celibacy is the better way. God did say it is not good for man to live alone, He did create the woman for the man, and He did call the result “very good.” But He never intended the man and the woman to stay in the garden just as created; He always intended them for more. Monasticism aims at that more.

                    • Having listened to Fr. John Behr’s talk now, I think the idea that if man had not fallen, reproduction would have occurred in a non-sexual manner was only advanced by a couple of Church Fathers (St. Gregory of Nyssa being the only name I remember). Fr. John didn’t elaborate, but what he said gave me the impression the context of those ideas was rather different than the debates about sexuality and gender we are now having in our culture and in the Church. Fr. John’s take on the Scriptural and patristic witness on the meaning of gender and the nature of sexuality really resonated with me. They struck me as very deep and I will want to listen to that talk again. Bottom line, if I am understanding him correctly, is that he gave some good Scriptural and liturgical (i.e., taken from the theology of the liturgy) reasons to take some of the assumed interpretations within the Church about Scripture’s teaching about the sanctity of marriage vs. virginity under advisement. (Apologies to Fr. John if I have misrepresented his thought here!)



                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      I think Fr. John makes a lot of sense in his talk and in his previously published work on the topic. Hardcore traditionalists, however, will have a problem with his rather original readings of the relevant passages of Scripture. Some people just aren’t open to new thinking, even when it supports ancient truths.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      King James’s committee, the editors of the Revised Standard Version, the editors of the New Revised Standard Version and of the Jerusalem Bible surely should have consulted with Deacon Brian Patrick Mitchell before the results of their labors were printed:
                      KJV: ;”,,,and thy desire shall be to thy husband…”
                      RSV: “….yet your desire shall be for your husband…
                      RSV footnote to the preceding: “The divine judgment contains an old explanation of woman’s pain in childbirth, HER SEXUAL DESIRE FOR HER HUSBAND….”
                      NRSV: “Your desire shall be for your husband…”
                      JB: “Your yearning shall be for your husband…”

        • CodeNameYvette says

          Well, if Stan Drezhlo is confused about his sex, that does not mean the rest of us are. No matter what additions and deletions he makes to his exterior, he is what God made him down to every last cell in his body with its Y chromosome.

          The male fetal brain, bathed in testosterone, forms in specific ways. The guy writes and rants like a man — a disordered man, but a man.

          To be forced by societal pressures or threats to accept such a man as a woman in the public forum is to do violence to truth and one’s right to assert it.

          • Your thoughts are the best summary I have yet seen on the matter of Stan and his issues. Kudos.

          • Once in a while, it can be determined that someone’s been born with chromosomal irregularities which result in ‘ambiguous genitalia’, leaving confused parents and (often) overly zealous surgeons hoping to determine the sex of the child through medical procedures. Especially in the last fifty years or so, it’s become increasingly evident that such children ought to be left alone and helped to find their own identity.

            On the other hand, though, there are perfectly normal people whose chromosomes indicate absolutely nothing irregular regarding their biological sex, but who later — for reasons yet unknown — suffer from a psychosis conveniently called ‘transsexualism’.

            I met my first transsexual in the late 1960s while I was managing a psychotherapy clinic in NYC. This individual, born male, presented as a credible woman but was compulsively seeking to have sex with men. It’s my opinion that this was someone suffering from same-sex attraction, but driven to madness because it was socially unacceptable for men to have sex with men in those days — a few exceptions notwithstanding.

            After Christine Jorgensen’s tour-de-force surgery in the 1950s, making a man appear to be a woman, a number of homosexuals started to reimagine themselves as women.

            The medical profession, both psychiatric and surgical, completely caved on this issue. They found that the psychosis of transsexualism was so profound that they could not address it by any sort of psychotherapy apart from tranquilizers, and decided (by the Power Invested in Them — oy!) that it was ‘easier’ — for them at least — to treat transsexuals by surgery: that they could modify the appearance of the body rather than the delusions of the mind was, and remains, an abject failure on the part of modern medicine.

            There are four interesting aspects of this problem which need to be acknowledged, at least on the societal level.

            First, male-to-female transsexuals outnumber female-to-male transsexuals about ten to one. This disparity remains unexplained.

            Second, only a small number of male-to-female transsexuals are outwardly undetectable and employable; many fall through society’s cracks.

            Third, a significant number of both male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals remain attracted to the opposite (of their birth) sex. This remains under study, and no conclusions have yet been drawn.

            Fourth, there’s an amazingly high correlation between transsexuality and suicide, both pre-op and post-op.

            This last point is a fairly reliable indicator that surgical treatment of transsexualism is the least elegant approach to relieving the psychosis. Better therapies have yet to emerge, but it’s clear that surgery isn’t the answer.

            On the whole, we should be kind to people, even people whose mental illness stretches the limits of our indulgence. At the same time, we do no one a favor by pretending that transsexualism isn’t a mental illness of the worst kind. In fact, it might be a demonic delusion — a theory which I myself favor.

            ‘Let us entrust ourselves and each other to Christ, our God.’

            • James…when I was at graduate school at the University of Chicago I did a praticum at the Gender Identity Disorders Clinic at Michael Reese Hospital…out of 100 applicants only 2 would be approved
              for sugery and the hoops they would have to jump through were amazing..only about 20% would finish…many of the applicants were schizaphrenic or borderline personality disorder but gender indentity disorder does exist as John Money at John Hopkins University discovered…its in DSM-IV as Gender Dysphoric Disoder…..the issue isn’t the science but how we are treating our beloved sister in Christ …we are supposed to be Christians…that persons status in the Church is between here and her Priest and Bishop..not this unworthy sinner..

              • surgery…so much for the University of Chicago…{{SIGH}}
                and her instead of here…damn…I’m on a roll

              • The early research by Money and Green has largely been discredited, especially in cases of children born with ambiguous genitalia. Crude surgical ‘correction’ of such children failed to make them psychologically healthy in their ‘assigned sex’, and many suicides ensued.

                Adult options for sex-reassignment surgery are much more available now than they were fifty years ago, but the emotional adjustments thought to follow such procedures have been much less than satisfying. And many suicides ensue.

                Transsexualism is a psychosis whose etiology remains unexplained, and whose treatment remains primitive, at least insofar as the medical profession is concerned.

                It’s my considered opinion that transsexualism is a diabolic affliction, and might best be addressed by prayer and confrontation and expulsion of those demons in exorcisms performed by Christ’s holy priests.

                But someone must ask for that divine intervention. Truth be told, most transsexuals are not Christians and they — and their dear ones — wouldn’t be in a position to ask for that help.

                Stan (Barbara Marie) Drezhlo continually presents as an orthodox christian and at the same time condemns nearly everyone, especially converts. It’s self-evidently true that anyone so negative cannot credibly be considered a Christian.

                Lord, have mercy on Your servant Stanley and on us all.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  It seems to me that no injections, conditioning, or operations will change Stanley Drezhlo’s male skull and male pelvic structure into that of a female.

                  • Monk James says

                    True. Only the love of God and the expelling of demons will make ‘transsexuals’ right. Let’s continue our prayers for Stanley and for everyone suffering under this delusion.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            The current Scientific American has a good article which discusses the main differences betwen the male and the female skull. In addition, physical anthropologists and forensic specialsts are skilled at identifying the sexual identity of human skeletal remains. These operations and so forth merely provide support for delusion.

        • Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          “Being gay” is a problem by most definitions of the word, but the extent of the problem depends on the definition.

          If by “being gay” you mean suffering from same-sex attraction, that’s a problem. God didn’t mean for people to be attracted to their own sex, so there’s something wrong with those who are, and we should sometimes take that something into account and not assume that it makes no difference. People who suffer SSA need counseling. They need to be told the truth about SSA and about the dangers of homosexuality. They need to admit to themselves, to their priest, and to their counselor that there is indeed something wrong with them that needs treatment. They also need to be encouraged to believe that suffering SSA does not define them as a person or sort them into a special ontological category of persons forced by nature to live a certain way.

          If by “being gay” you mean living the gay lifestyle, that’s a much bigger problem, involving grossly immoral behavior and outright rebellion against God. The trouble is that advocates of the gay lifestyle labor selfishly to convince people that anyone who suffers from SSA is “gay” and should therefore admit being gay and embrace the gay lifestyle.

          • You say being gay is a problem “by most definitions of the word. . .” I’m not sure this is true, at least not from a Christian perspective. Can you show me in Scripture where a verb is not used to describe homosexuality? From what I recall, it is the act that is described as being an abomination; not the desire. I would be curious to know if the Church separates the two. – I don’t pretend to know what causes SSA. I can’t say definitively that it’s a pathology, though. I suspect that sexuality, like most human appetites, falls on a continuum. We all struggle with sin, but that doesn’t mean there is something “wrong” with us; only that we are human and in need of healing.

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              In your response, I hear the voice of the serpent, “Yea, hath God said …” This issue is simple: If the act is an abomination, the desire for it is a problem, and that we struggle with sin does in fact mean there’s something wrong with us. Why is that so hard for you to admit?

              • You mean in the sense that we all struggle with sin (any sin) because there is indeed something wrong with us? There is something wrong indeed , isn’t there, with folks who struggle with greed, envy, adultery, fornication, pedophilia, pornography, gluttony, etc..?

                I do not mean to diminish the problem of homosexuality; however, I am not willing to elevate it to the level of “uber-sin” as you seem to be implying. To give you an example, while the presenting problem in the Anglican Church may be homosexuality, the underlying problem is unbelief and post-modernist sensibilities. The overarching reason for opposing abortion and acceptance of homosexual activity is not the nature of those acts but that their acceptance is a sign of the deeper sickness that affects society. The argument is that if these acts, which are so clearly against God’s teachings, are accepted, there is no logical and ethical reason to also accept bigamy, polygamy, bestiality, etc… None of these considerations, however, justifies elevating homosexuality to such an exalted level that it becomes creme de la creme of sins, worthy of special adulation and condemnation.

                • CodeNameYvette says

                  Carl, you choose to ignore the history of the battle for “gay rights”. There is no like army of activists fighting on behalf of pedophilia, although it’s coming. No such for burglary, check-kiting, or robbery on the high seas.

                  The problem is that many afflicted souls struggle against this particular temptation in our particular historical setting, where it has become dangerous to refuse approbation to the homosexual lifestyle. It is a committed fraction of society who have exalted homosexuality to an exalted level, demanding not only tolerance but open approval from the whole.

                  Homosexual activists, active homosexuals, their friends and supporters and sympathizers, started this fight. They have a strong foothold in part of the OCA now.

                  Your counsel is to run away from the fight. To the contrary, the more that specific sins are proclaimed to be virtue, the louder should be the voice of the Church against them.

                  • I think y’all (OCAT, Monomachos, etc.) have made a mountain of a molehill. THe problem in the Anglican Church, often cited as a precursor example for the OCA, was not homosexuality but a general distancing from the orthodox Anglicanism and movement toward contemporary post-modern sensibilities. In contrast, I see OCA’s orthodoxy as being rock solid. I know many, many Orthodox laity and clergy who are true, uncompromising Orthodox Christians. Furthermore, I truly believe that OCA type orthodoxy will be the norm in the United States and be the shining beacon for all who want follow the Lord earnestly. It will not be Anglican/Episcopal Church redux. To us, this issue is nothing more than a temporary nuisance; it is not a mortal threat.

                    • Carl says,

                      I think y’all (OCAT, Monomachos, etc.) have made a mountain of a molehill. THe problem in the Anglican Church, often cited as a precursor example for the OCA, was not homosexuality but a general distancing from the orthodox Anglicanism and movement toward contemporary post-modern sensibilities.

                      Sometimes the mound is part of a mountain. I do not believe, nor have I ever believed, that there is a homosexual cabal driving the OCA. It is a fact that there are some people with a homosexual agenda in the OCA, but they are just indicative of a larger problem — the desire to be recognized as legitimate. This is what I mean (and I think George too) when I refer to the Episcopalianization of the OCA. It is a move to be accepted by the larger culture. “No more”, sounds the battle cry, “shall we live in the shadow of the papists, Angles, and Protestants!” The gay agenda, push for women’s ordination, autocephalist snobbery, and the OCA’s cherished and stubborn Ecumenical involvement are all symptomatic of this insecurity.

                      Another term for this might be “OCA Egotism” — and I think it underlies much of the other problems, including the personality based hissy fits that the “entitled” Syosset circle has shared with us.

                      To us, this issue is nothing more than a temporary nuisance; it is not a mortal threat.

                      Mind filling me in on who “us” is?

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Carl, I hope you’re right. I’m not nearly as optimistic as you. Right now, it’s only because of +Jonah that the OCA has not headed off the ECUSA cliff.

                      You want proof?

                      OK, how about this: Bishop +Tikhon –a good guy IMHO–hasn’t disciplined the dean of his cathedral in Boston, the spiritual godfather of Leonova’s pans-sexual coven. +Tikhon should ask him what he means in his various pronouncements, sermons, “open letters,” etc. And then demand that he publicly recants his immoral teachings.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Somehow, sexual misbehavior didn’t make it into the tablets given Moses! Of course for some centuries now, Christian teachers have regularly shoe-horned sexual behavior into the commandment against adultery, which condemns a crime against union of a man and his wife and cooption of property.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Carl, I agree with you, sin is sin. My own sins (of a heterosexual nature) certainly preclude my salvation. I don’t pretend to be any better than than anybody else. The problem however is your characterization of homosexuality as an “uber-sin.” After much reflection, I believe it is. same-sex genital contact is nihilistic. When it becomes an identity, it becomes all-consuming and the pagan and idolatrous. It worships the creature in a way that heterosexuality cannot.

                  We must remember, that as bad as fornication and adultery are, they can be used to God’s purposes. Read for example the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Out of the 42 male ancestors of Jesus, Matthew names four women. All of the women named were adulteresses (Bathsheba), homewreckers (Ruth), or harlots (Tamar), or women who pretended to be harlots (Tamar). The fruits of their illicit unions led to the birth of our Lord and Savior.

                  Am I excusing harlotry and adultery? Far from it. I’m just pointing out that even when they are acknoweledged as a historical fact, they are never acknowledged as anything but sins. The terrible delusion of homosexuality presently is that it is upheld as a greater form of love than heterosexuality (as it was for example in Ancient Greece).

                  • George and Jesse–I hope you will not mind that I am responding to both of you (I could not respond to Jesse–no “reply” button).

                    First, I must come clean with a general caveat: my experience in areas of the country other than the South and West of Mississippi is very limited. Therefore, I may be indeed incorrect in thinking that the rest of the Church is similar to what I have experienced.

                    Jesse–to answer your question, “(Carl) To us, this issue is nothing more than a temporary nuisance; it is not a mortal threat. (Jesse) Mind filling me in on who “us” is?” I meant OCA laity and clergy in general. I honestly do not personally know anyone who would disagree with me (except for folks on this site and OCAT).

                    Jesse–I had not understood that you hold the essential problem to be “a move to be accepted by the larger culture.” Again, in my experience, there is certainly an element of that in some older ethnic parishioners. The younger cradles and almost all converts that I have encountered have a rather different outlook. Many have joined the Church because they reject the larger culture and many hope to change the larger culture so that in conforms to Orthodox Christianity.

                    George–We will have to agree to disagree on whether homosexuality is in a class of its own when we rank sins. I certainly think that homosexual conduct is plainly sinful on many grounds, to include the ones you mentioned. However, one can also look at sins from a different perspective: omissions and commissions that separate us from God, sins that prevent us from growing in the Lord, to become the creatures that God intends us to be. But, lets look at it from the practical perspective that you raised: the survival of the species. Yes, in that context homosexuality, both inclination and conduct, is indeed unproductive and would be a problem if the number of homosexuals increased appreciably. I would submit to you that the number of one problem in this context is abortion; a far larger number of heterosexuals are acting contrary to God’s commandments to (a) not to murder and (b) be fruitful and multiply. So, in either case, context matters. I simply do not think that homosexuality is a problem in the Orthodox Church (that I know) today. Homosexuals, both laity and clergy, are very small in number and are mostly working out their salvation under the direction of their spiritual fathers. The same as sinners of al kinds.

                    • Read It And Weep says


                      Do you believe it right for men seeking to be clergy, who have homosexual attractions should be ordained? A simple yes or no will suffice.

                    • Carl says,

                      I meant OCA laity and clergy in general. I honestly do not personally know anyone who would disagree with me (except for folks on this site and OCAT).

                      I think the majority of the OCA do not have opinions on a lot of these things because they are appropriately not worried about the OCA at large and its political position. So maybe we agree, at least somewhat. Who wouldda thunk?

                      Jesse–I had not understood that you hold the essential problem to be “a move to be accepted by the larger culture.” Again, in my experience, there is certainly an element of that in some older ethnic parishioners. The younger cradles and almost all converts that I have encountered have a rather different outlook. Many have joined the Church because they reject the larger culture and many hope to change the larger culture so that in conforms to Orthodox Christianity.

                      You are describing my demographic! I have no squabble with you here, just the addendum that the young converts have little to nothing in common with the Syosset Circle and their motives. They are, as they have been often characterized, a self-important and small network of friends and relatives who have been in seat of power so long they feel it is their birthright.

                      Shortly after I was named as part of OCAT I called a well known priest member of the Syosset Circle who had ostensibly no more business in this affair than I did. I asked him to set me straight since he disagreed with me. He was very hospitable for the better part of an hour. However, when I shared my concerns and questions about who and what he was telling me to trust/ distrust things changed. He told me — in so many words — that this was not my Church to play around with or think I know anything about. I should leave it up to him and his pals. The sense I got (very distinctly) was that I was warmly welcomed to be a voiceless inhabitant of the OCA; and my voice wouldn’t be needed anyway since he would be glad to do all the necessary speaking anyway!

                      But of course you are right Carl, those folks aren’t the majority.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Carl, there is no disagreement. My concern is that by talking about “ommission” and such you are sidestepping the issue. And that is, that neither you, nor I, nor the vast majority of honest people believe that we should elevate whatever our sins are to non-sin status. It’s really that simple. I wasn’t chaste in my youth, nor abstemious, nor ascetic in my appetites, etc. but I cannot and will not elevate my personal vices to virtues. They are not. Nor are they the be-all and end-all of my identity.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Dear George, you referred to Bishop Tikhon as the Boston priest’s bishop. Not so! Bishop Nikon is his bishop. Bishop Nikon was only the Bishop of the Albanian Archdiocese, until Archbishop Job began campaigning in the New England diocese for his election to that vacant see also.. Even though it was patently uncanonical to do so, Archbishop Job, Bishop Seraphim and Archbishop Nathaniel complained that the “Albanians didn’t pay Bishop Nikon a “respectable” salary, so it would be good if he got the New England diocesan salary as well. Archbishop Job also complained that if Nikon were not elected, then “two Archpriests in New England” will prove that they, NOT the bishops, have the ultimate say in that diocese. When asked, the Archbishop replied that the two archpriests were “Westerberg and Dresko.”

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      My mistake. I meant +Nikon. I ask for the forgiveness of both +Tikhons (yourself and Mollard).

              • Dn. Brian Patrick, thanks for making that so clear. There will be no healing on this issue until we can maintain that kind of clarity.

                Not only sinful acts, but sinful inclinations (of any kind), create a barrier in our hearts to the full communion with God in Christ by the Holy Spirit that is our true calling, our salvation and healing as human beings. Satan–dirty, rotten lying thief that he is–comes only to “steal, kill, and destroy.” I pray my brothers and sisters in Christ afflicted with SSA (and, make no mistake, it is an *affliction*) will not allow his lies under the guise of “objective, scientific truth” (here’s a hint: there is no such thing in the realm of science as a merely human endeavor!) to rob them of their true identity and destiny in Christ.

                Having said that, continence in refraining from sinful acts is the first step in moving toward full healing, and I honor and affirm all my brothers and sisters who, with me, genuinely struggle toward chastity, or who struggle to maintain chastity, and have not yet been freed from their sinful inclinations. Truth be told, this is likely to be as good as it gets for most of us until our dying breath, yet as long as we are struggling to rise, we are assured the ultimate victory in the presence of Christ (and even plenty of joy and consolation on the way there). Continence in the face of temptation is nothing to sneeze at–it is a real spiritual victory, a signal of satan’s downfall, and a foretaste of our final victory over all our sinful passions. Here’s to the journey! We are fellow travelers and strugglers on the road of repentance.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I guess that would be why S/he hates both ROCOR and the OCA. In the past, that would have been logical impossibilty for those who play the traditionalist.

      • Helga is it easier to attack Brbara -Marie Dhrezlo for her medical history which is really none of my or your business than it is to listen or at least try to comprehend what she may be saying…one doesn’t have to agree with her but we should try to be Christians…
        Stephen Montgomery

        • Stephen, that’s a puerile criticism of Helga. As I’ve pointed out to another of her critics, Drezhlo presents himself in far more judgmental ways about people he doesn’t like (most everybody it seems) and in darn near scatological terms. When a man runs down the street in a clown suit screaming obscenities it’s better to avert your eyes but it’s not your fault, nor is it a sin, to point out that the man is a loon.

        • Stephen, George is right. Monk James is right. CodeNameYvette is right. Stan/Barbara-Marie Drezhlo is not a “sister;” he is a brother. Whether or not he is “in Christ,” regardless of his sacramental inclusion/exclusion, is God’s call, but it is perfectly reasonable, fair, and even charitable, to point out that he is not presently expressing the opinions of, or writing in a spirit appropriate to, a right-believing Christian as Orthodoxy defines that.

          It is, in fact, a sin, however, to prefer the explanations of fallen, fallible human beings to the clear teaching of the Tradition. It is also a sin to become complicit in another’s sin by acquiescing to their delusions. DSM-IV, though it may serve a useful purpose, is no ultimate or infallible authority on the disordered human soul, and it is idolatrous to consider it more trustworthy than what Tradition teaches where the two clearly conflict.

        • Stephen, George and Karen have both adequately pointed out why it is entirely appropriate to refer to Mr. Drezhlo by his God-given identity. You protest that we should “try to be Christians”, but that doesn’t mean encouraging delusions rather than fighting them, whether those delusions are your own or others’.

          It is a struggle for me to be kind and charitable towards Drezhlo, because he has been extremely vicious and hateful towards people I love and care about. But I know he is a sick and profoundly damaged human being, and truth and compassion are what move me and others to refer to him by his real gender identity. One day “sex reassignment” will be remembered like female genital mutilation and lobotomies are thought of today.

  22. Read It And Weep says


    There is nothing wrong with Archbishop Seraphim going to Church in Victoria. What is wrong is the SNAP girls who post a self-serving “press release” on their own website as if it was some sort of news story. Then they insult the reader in the last sentence of the second paragraph, in the news business it is called “burying the lead” when they state – The case involves the abuse of two ten year old boys

    The Pokrov girls of course know exactly what they are doing, but if they were truthful, they would have said, The case involves the alleged abuse of two ten-year old boys, now adults with the alleged abuse taking place 20 years ago.

    No one can give any quarter to the abuse of anyone, adult or child, and if those allegations are true, the state or in this case, the Crown, will set the price for such a crime, and the Church will also. But until then, and as long as we live in a civil society, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

    This is nothing more than a case of the girls piling on and keeping the story alive, for their own SNAP benefit. I applaud them for giving voice to abuse victims, but their shabby “reporting” in this case is wrong and they should print an apology for their less than subtle use of language.

    Now, back the to the real story.

    Bishop Melchizedek, are the allegations true or false?

    • Read it, the bare fact of the case is that there is indeed a credible abuse allegation against Archbishop Seraphim, and it was entirely appropriate to suspend him and forbid him from having contact with minors. The problem is that “Pokrov” is treating him as if he is both guilty and violating his suspension. His guilt or innocence is for the Winnipeg court and the church investigation to determine. As for the email, nothing in that email appears to announce him doing anything to violate his suspension. It explicitly states that a priest, not Archbishop Seraphim, is going to celebrate the Vespers service.

      Also, you’re right to point out that “Pokrov” should have referred to the “alleged” crime. My experience of reading “Pokrov” is that they are attention-seekers who feed off of strife and upheaval. I saw them accuse Metropolitan Jonah of being some psycho cultist, just because he dared to disagree with their witch-hunting approach to HOOM/CSB converts to Orthodoxy. Oh, and he worked at Raphael House as a young man when it was still HOOM. (How many OCF mission trips have gone through there now?)

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Helga, like OCANews, I no longer have the same roseate view of SNAP as I used to. I have come to suspect much of what they write. Like Stokoe, they’re outrage seems awfully selective.

        • Indeed, George. Look how the Pokrov ladies are suffering from the vapors over Met. Jonah and Fr. Zacchaeus, but I’ve never seen them protest Bishop Benjamin shutting down the investigation against himself. Also, Pokrov seems to glory in creating scandal where none exists, such as the repentant monk Andrew in New Mexico.

          • A sort of lusting after power has often accompanied social reformers and crusaders for progress. Even a brief sojourn with leftist activists will teach you all that you need to know about the character type.

            There is obviously a need for muckraking in this fallen world, and the weak will always require champions on their behalf. However, there is a temptation that follows such good work, wherein one aquires a taste for righteous indignation and thereafter greedily sets off in search of offenses to fight and victims to protect. In the midst of those who truly labor for justice there is a mighty crowd of busybodies who have discovered a guise for their vice that earns them praise, respect, and money. Among them are mediocre, passive aggressive souls who nevertheless seek status and dominion over others. They lack the typical traits of leadership that result in such, but they have tasted a parasitic form of power by bringing down the exalted and proud. And they hunger for more. They are the high priestesses of slave morality.

            • That’s a very astute observation, Joseph.

            • …there is a mighty crowd of busybodies who have discovered a guise for their vice that earns them praise, respect, and money. Among them are mediocre, passive aggressive souls who nevertheless seek status and dominion over others.

              Is this on the letterhead for the “movers and shakers” of the Metropolitan Council? If not, it should be.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Joseph A, a very astute observation. Look at the secular world: the nanny-staters and busy-bodies are in the main, genuinely weird people who couldn’t make it in the real world. Usually, they got cushy jobs at some foundation. Not only do they not generate wealth, they live off the proceeds of wealth generated a long time ago (i.e. the Ford Foundation, CFR, etc.). In other words, they’re usually four removes from actually producing something of value.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Do we include Quakers among those “social reformers” who always lust for power?

              • I sure hope not. The Quakers I have known have been some of the most humble people I have met. And I went to a Quaker high school.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Your Grace, the Quakers to my mind are outliers in the world of social reformers. Most nanny-staters/busybodies/etc. are notorious scolds and all-around hypocrites who are genuinely unpleasant people. I’m thinking of Gloria Allred, Jesse Jackson, Molly Yard, etc. It’s a good thing my wife locks up my guns, otherwise I’d pull an Elvis Presley everytime one of these bozos appears on the TV.

    • I absolutely never thought I’d say this, but Archbishop Lazar has injected some much needed common sense into this discussion about Archbishop Seraphim in a comment on OCANews.

      I’m going to have a stiff drink and take a cold shower now. Next it will be cats and dogs livin’ together, mass hysteria!

  23. Read It And Weep says


    What is new on the Bp. Melchizedek front? Time for a new lead story on it?

  24. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    A couple words on “the secrecy of the confessional.”
    I revealed that a certain Archpriest had written on an ordination certificate that the candidate for ordination “has repented all impediments.” Some have deduced the identity of the persons involved.
    A very, very disturbed person identified by the non-name “Spartion” recently wrote on its blog that I had sinned thereby, in “revealing the contents of a confession.” Well, I’d like to “reveal” right now that I’ve been hearing confessions since 1978 and Every Single Person coming to confession has REPENTED OF SINS!!!!!!!! Moreover many members of the Los Angeles Orthodox community have observed me hearing the confessions of readily identified parishioners and clergy, and I hereby announce that THEY ALL CONFESSED AND REPENTED OF REAL SINS. Take that, O Spartion!!!!
    The despicable retired Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) once again broadcasts and even flaunts his malevolence and misanthropic nature. Oh, I just can’t get enough of it, Spartion! I’ll be glad to let you know the names of people who came to me in the Sacred Secrecy of the Confessional and confessed Real Sins, not just “impediments!!!!”

  25. Speaking of bugbears back from the dead, our old pal Stookey is back on the hit piece parade.

    Dr. Skordinski has resigned from the council due to (supposed) professional responsibilities. I don’t think she is Orthodox anymore, and she played hooky from the May meeting anyway, so this was a while in coming.

    Stokoe had the nerve to post a piece with someone else lauding him as deserving an Orthodox Pulitzer Prize. Puh-leez. Even if Stokoe’s work was at all laudable, the unseemly arrogance in posting that piece should be readily palpable.

  26. Actually, with Stokoe, Skordinski and Reeves not present, the meeting might stand a chance to be productive. As for the three finalist for Chancellor, one name is well known, Fr David Mahaffey, but two others, Fr Paul Jannakos and Fr. John Jillions not so known. It is known that Benjamin was pushing Dresko, but it sounds like he didn’t make the cut.

    Jillions is the brother-in-law of Eric Wheeler who was at the center of the Kondratick administration as Treasurer. If Jillions is given the nod by the Holy Synod, you can expect Wheeler to have the inside track to be the next bishop of Alaska (now a widower) or maybe even returning to Syosset in some capacity.

    My bet is that Jillions and Jannakos will be moved aside because of their links to the old administration (Jillions) and lack of experience (Jannakos) making Mahaffey the compromise choice, which will then make it easy for the Synod to consecrate him an auxiliary bishop, thus improving the image of the OCA in the world by having a bishop as a Chancellor.

    As for Skordinski, her resignation is long overdue since she has left the Orthodox Church and has played fast and loose with her MC position for over a year. She is also at the center of questions in spreading vicious rumors about the DC nuns, which, legally exposed the MC and her personally. No surprise she resigned, but of course, Stokoe just passed the “party line” about her resignation.

    Nothing of any consequence will come out of the MC meeting except their recommendation for Chancellor. Of course, the Synod has the final say, no matter who they recommend, so stay tuned.

    • I tried to find some info about Fr. Jillions. Came across this site: http://www.wearetheirlegacy.com/this-site/ I noted the list of people under the “Contact Us” tab, including Fr. Jillions, but I couldn’t figure out what the purpose of the site was. Maybe it’s just over my head. Can anyone explain this to a thick head sinner?

      • Fr. John Jillions being listed with Fr. Robert Arida and Fr. Alexis Vinogradov does not make me feel optimistic.

        • If one looks at Fr. Jillions’ own site: http://www.johnjillions.ca/interests.htm one will note under his list of interests, “the experience of sexual minority groups within the Orthodox Church” which I guess is consistent with his apparent connection to Frs. Arida and Viogradov.

          • M. Stankovich says

            With all due respect, Catherine, might I suggest that, if you are apparently so willing to speculate as to Fr. John’s “motivations” – and quite obviously you have no clue as to his heart – why not return and click on the link to contact him directly? I know him to a forthright Orthodox priest and person, and I am more than confident he he would gladly respond.

            • Mr. Stankovich, since I see that your name is also connected with the “we are their legacy” site, perhaps you would be so kind as to explain what the site is all about.

          • Thanks, Catherine. We all know “Sexual minorities” are people who have given themselves over to the so-called gay identity. Compare that to Metropolitan Jonah’s referring to the so-called gay identity as consigning oneself to a sinful state of self-delusion.

          • To get a feel for Fr Jillions I suggest the following webpage where he answers questions posed by the newspaper the Ottawa Citizen: http://www.johnjillions.ca/ottawa_citizen.htm

            Very good insightful answers are given to the questions listed below. I’m disappointment that he gives a late date for the compostition of the gospels: all post 70AD. That’s a standard liberal academic viewpoint.

            Ottawa Citizen questions:

            What are the benefits and rewards for living a good life in conformity with your beliefs?

            What role does your faith play in the growth of civilizations?

            Ted Haggard, a former megachurch pastor who was involved in a sex and drug scandal two years ago, reappeared in a pulpit in November. Do you think clergy who have been compromised like this can ever lead a congregation again?

            What do you think is the most crucial point of conflict between science and religion?

            What is your faith group’s position on the causes and treatment of depression. Is it a chemical imbalance or a spiritual disorder?

            How do you accommodate different ethnicities within your faith group?

            Is evolution compatible with a belief in God?

            What would you say to your child or a teen who was disillusioned by the fall of his/her hero?

            Has God already determined our future or is it possible to get what we want through prayer?

            How does your group feel about the general public adopting some aspects of the faith, such as yoga or meditation, without subscribing to the underlying precepts?

            Have you given up on achieving global peace?

            Why does the historical truth of figures like Jesus and the Buddha matter?

            Why do you believe your holy book is truly from God?

            New Age religions or lifestyles tend to cater to the individual. Is something missing in the individual approach to religion?

            What saint or holy figure has inspired you the most?

            How important is knowledge in your belief system?

            What is your biggest complaint about how the media covers your religion?

            What saint or holy figure do you think has been the most misunderstood?

            How do you think music contributes to your religious tradition? What are the most important pieces of music?

            Does your faith teach that God is personal, and loves us individually?

            How does posture, i.e., kneeling, change prayer?

            Are there right and wrong ways to pray? (i.e., is something like a set prayer or rosary better than just chatting with God).

            What is your faith’s position on psychics? Is it permissible to consult them for guidance?

            What is your favourite sacred text and why?

            In times of celebration, how do your congregations handle the sad and lonely among you?

            What is the spiritual importance of silence in your faith group?

            Why should places of worship be tax exempt?

            Critics of religion say that it has been the major cause of warfare throughout history. How do you respond to such criticism?

            Different denominations have very different ways of worshipping: drums, dancing, rock guitars. In your opinion, what makes music and dance suitable for liturgy? What’s too over the top??

            Should an outsider intervene if he witnesses something from another culture that he believes is wrong?

      • Carl Kraeff says

        There are three reflections posted on that site (thanks for the tip by the way). The first one by Fr Arida is a thought provoking esay on Father Alexander Schmemann’s exploration of secularism and the Church in the West. Then, there are two reflections by Mr Stankovich, both very interesting. And, yes one does touch upon homosexuality, which is indeed an issue of pastoral interest to many of our pastors, especially in the blue states. From the reaction on this site to the two reflections by Fathers Arida and Vinogradov on OCAN, it seems to me that this issue is highly controversial. Nonetheless, to the charge that the camel’s nose is in the tent, I would offfere the example of the ostrich. Bottom line: I highly recommend this site to anybody, including signers of the Manhattan Declaration like myself, who wish to think, learn and discuss topics of interest to contemporary Orthodox Christians.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl, again your naivete gets the best of you. The websites in question aren’t concerned with “pastoral” insights about problems that afflict people. Read the essays of Arida and Vinogradsky again: they don’t believe that homosexuality per se is a sin. At the very most, they cloud the issue with $1.95 words like “lapsarian,” “post-lapsarian,” etc.

          Please understand, I have absolutely no problem with people who are afflicted with sin being under a spiritual discipline and trying to work out their salvation. That’s what I’m trying to do. What I’m NOT trying to do, and what Leonova actually does, is redefine my sins as virtues and seek ecclesial sanction for them.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Well, I do have questions about this “per se” angle as well. So do many other people, many of whom (myself included) have asked for citations of Scriptural verses and/or Canons that go beyond homosexual conduct. I am open to be persuaded that homosexuality per se (that is just SSA) is a sin. I assure you that I am with you in opposing redefinitions of sins and I am of the same mind about seeking ecclesial approval of these redefined sins.

            That said, I do not agree that Fathers Arida and Vinogradov have a hidden. pro-homosexual agenda. I do think that they are simply asking how to pastorally handle homosexuals who attend Orthodox churches, particularly those who are attending with their “married” partners. If their point is that we should not slam the doors on these folks’ faces the minute that their sin is public knowledge, I would agree with them. You see, George, I do believe that there are indeed greater and lesser sins, but I do not believe that (a) we should react to any of them as if they are deadly contagion and (b) that homosexuality is a super-sin.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Carl wrote:

              That said, I do not agree that Fathers Arida and Vinogradov have a hidden. pro-homosexual agenda. I do think that they are simply asking how to pastorally handle homosexuals who attend Orthodox churches, particularly those who are attending with their “married” partners.

              Do you think it’s okay that Orthodox priests such as Fr Arida and Fr. Bobosh should take it upon themselves to chrismate, and commune homosexuals? Where did they get permission to do that? Did Archbishop Job give permission, calling it economia? Who gave him the authority to override Scripture and the teachings of the Church? Was he a homosexual? Am I bad for asking?

              Maybe you don’t know the answers, Carl. Maybe some of the homosexual Orthodox Christians who read this site would answer some of these questions.

              Where did the bishops get permission to allow their priests to give communion to homosexuals? Because that is what they are doing, right now, and have been for many years.

              Do you think that homosexuals should be made bishops? There is no need to ask whether they should be because apparently in the OCA it’s okay. Some of them are homosexuals and have been bishops for decades. Apparently, you do think it’s okay.

              Don’t think I have hidden hatred towards homosexuals. I just keep thinking about what the Apostle Paul would say if he were here. What would you say to him?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I don’t blame you a bit for what you feel and think. The problem is forgiving is central to Christianity. First, it is very hard to forgive. Second, if one does not, one is doomed. The problem becomes more acute when it affects the clergy, increasing exponentially in its seriousness. Thanks God that I have a God and a Godly priest who has and is forgiving me!

                I have prayed for the salvation of homosexuals and other sinners that I have encountered in Church, whenever I became aware of their sins. I have never actively tried to ferret out sins but such things become apparent sometimes. In any case, my way of dealing with such situations have been to trust my priest to do the right thing. I also give my priest/bishop a great amount of leeway so that he can work out the issue. I have never been in a situation where to my knowledge (I stress this word as opposed to suspicion or reports) nothing was done by the priest or the bishop. However, if such were to be the case, I would go to another church, informing the priest and/or bishop of the reason.

                In the case of reports of homosexuals being communed, how does any body know whether these folks did not go to confession and were reconciled to the Church? In any such instance, I would give the benefit of the doubt to the priest and/or bishop. Look, we all have heard of reports that the retired Bishop residing in the DOS was/is homosexual, that he was/is living with a Deacon who was also homosexual, and that the Deacon was/is allowed to participate in Divine Services. I have never once thought to blame the hierarchs in charge of DOS–Archbishop Dimitri, Metropolitan +Jonah,. Bishop Mark or Bishop Nikon–for this situation. I trusted each one of these bishops to have addressed whatever situation there is/was. Again, I did not have first hand knowledge, just reports. Finally, if God forgives, who am I not to?

                I firmly believe that each one of us must use our heads and not rubber stamp everything that our priest, bishop or even fellow blogger says. How else can w fulfill our responsibility, which we share with the clergy, in identifying false doctrine and false teachers? All that said, we could address the issue in a impersonal way and talk about principles.

              • George Michalopulos says

                JR, I like what you’re saying here. Personally, I’m trying to come to grips with the idea that there is no such thing as homosexuality per se. After all, god made us all either male or female. The complementary of our bodies mandates that we are in reality, heterosexual, even if some of us are not attracted to the opposite sex.

                Bear with me here. By accepting the terms of the debate, i.e. “homosexual,” “gay,” etc., then we have already conceded too much to the unrealists who are creating a new pagan religion, one which worships the creature on the one hand and is gnostic on the other. In other words, the present “gay” theological movement is anti-realistic and most definately anti-Yahwist. Like all gnostic systems however, it results in nihilism, which is to say, the destruction of reality.

                Also, by accepting these terms, it makes it easier for clergymen and other liberals to deform monotheism. If we refuse to fall into their trap, then we won’t use words like “gay” or “homosexual,” but instead view people with SSA as just another group of sinners who need our love and the spiritual discipline of the Church. For starters, we should never accept the analogy of the civil rights movement and/or interracial marriage.

                Make no mistake, if we continue along this path, of continuing to use these words, then the “gay” identity will have won out and the Church will have choice but to accept this disorder as normative.

                • George, I have also mulled over the thoughts you express regarding the terminology of SSA vs. “gay”, and the implications of using “gay”, etc. I kept thinking that it seemed unloving to tell someone it is sinful to ever in his/her lifetime act on his sexual desires just because they are SSA desires. At the same time I knew the Church is certainly correct and it was easy for me to see the inherent unnaturalness of sex with someone of one’s own sex. This blog post:
                  helped me to understand and wholeheartedly accept the Church’s teaching. Now my mind and heart are not warring over the issue. Now I understand how the clergy should approach the issue. The questions from clergy about “Do I tell a same-sex couple with children to break up their family?” makes me want to ask, “Would you tell a man with a wife and child, who also has a mistress who has his child, that all of them should live together for the sake of the children?!”

                  To all the folks, such as the fb “Listening” group members, who claim that dialogue about SSA is good, I’d say, dialogue would be fine if we all started from the realization that the Church hasn’t been wrong for the last 2000 years. It’s like dialogging with some who believes the world is flat and whose mind is made up.

  27. Read It And Weep says (September 28, 2011 at 11:19 am): “Carl, Do you believe it right for men seeking to be clergy, who have homosexual attractions should be ordained? A simple yes or no will suffice.”

    1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop,[a] he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[b] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1Timothy 3)

    A simple yes or no does not suffice. If a man presents himself as a candidate for any office (deacon, priest or bishop) and is not known to be a homosexual, this person may have “good testimony” and thus be eligible.

    Should he be ordained? Obviously it depends on the judgment of his bishop or the Holy Synod (in the case of bishops) on whether this man has his homosexuality in control and will carry out and preach the Church’s teachings on homosexual conduct. If a person’s risk aversion is low, he would say no. If it is low, he may say yes. If he is a forgiving type, he might say yes, and if not, he may say no. Obviously we have had homosexual deacons, priests and bishops. Does that fact indicate that the Church has failed or that each and every one of us has the capacity to sin at any time in our life?

    If I were a planner, my answer to you would be “no” a planner must account for all eventualities. As an Orthodox lay person,my answer would be “none of my business.” And, if I were a bishop, my answer would be “however the Holy Spirit guides me.”

    • Carl, does not also “blameless, the husband of one wife,” presuppose that SSA and/or behavior would not likely be part of such a candidate’s background, at least since being a Christian? Don’t forget, there is also “not given to much wine” (another area where the OCA has failed in a few cases, apparently).

      “Obviously we have had homosexual deacons, priests and bishops. Does that fact indicate that the Church has failed . . . . ?”

      If one assumes this means actively SSA’d and acting out (as has been the case in recent OCA history apparently) and those responsible for nomination and appointment knew there were vulnerabilities/possible compromises in this area, I would say YES, MOST DEFINITELY! It boggles my mind anyone would even have to ask this question. On the other hand, if the SSA and/or homosex has been part of a previous life, long buried in Baptism and Repentance, then I’d say probably not.

      • I could have just quoted verse 7, which I highlighted; I quoted the entire “job description” to put it into context. My intent was to highlight the fact that the person who is to be ordained must be of such disposition and have had such a past that he would not cause reproach and damage the Church.

        Regarding SSA, I already indicated that the decision would more than likely depend on the discernment of his bishop, based on the life confession that was discussed earlier, as long as the bishop believed that the SSA would be in fact controlled. When you talk about “vulnerabilities/possible compromises,” they are certainly real but they are just as real as other sinful thoughts and behaviors. Alcoholism, for example, can readily result in public scandal, as was the case recently in Toledo, Ohio. However, there are thousands of recovering alcoholics who lead productive and uneventful lives. The trick is to figure out which vulnerabilities are more likely to result in possible compromises. I do not think that the Holy Scriptures or the Canons call SSA to be an impediment, that is of a vulnerability of critical diimension, one which is bound to inevitably result in homosexual conduct. But, I stand to be corrected on this–just point me to specific passages and canons.

        Regarding mistakes that were apparently made, my point was that the Church did not fail. Here are the logical possibilities:

        – Candidate with SSA is repentant and struggling to overcome. father confessor and bishop believe he will be successful in overcoming the SSA. Later on, this person succumbs and sins. Here the bishop’s decision was proven to have been wrong by the actions of the beneficiary of that decision. I would not blame that bishop if he henceforth decided not to approve with SSA under any circumstances. But, I cannot gainsay his earlier decision either as I do not have the charisma that he has. In this case, we should not blame the Church or the particular bishop. Blame human nature instead.

        – Candidate with SSA is approved by bishop because (a) the bishop is himself homosexual, (b) bishop does not think that SSA or homosexual conduct is a big deal. I this case, there is a much bigger problem. First, if the other bishops know about this and do not take corrective action, yes, this would be a Church problem. Second, if the other bishops are of a mind to shut their minds off to reality (to have inner peace, to avoid making decisions, not to look into anything that may embarrass the Church), that is also a Church problem. Finally, the very process of vetting, nominating and electing bishops must be reviewed even if this situation is present in the case of only one bishop. In the case of the OCA, She caught herself before plunging off the precipice. She is not a failure precisely because the laity, clergy and most of all the bishops decided to take proper corrective actions all along, particularly in the past three years.

        I think that with the actions that the Holy Synod took as a result of the SIC, the OCA was able as a Church to recover from failure as an institution. First, I truly believe that the vast majority of the cases belong to the first scenario. Second, I look at the Church over time and not in any short period of time. I think that it may be fair to say that there were problems; but, it would be equally fair to say that the Church did not fail, that She overcame some problems and is struggling with others.

    • WHAT? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

  28. I recommend listening to Met. Jonah’s podcast about the upcoming AAC. This is great, especially after about 12 minutes in.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      For those of us who can’t hear, what did he say?

      • I would sponsor a transcript myself, but unfortunately AFR has a long backlog. It’s that good.

        Basically, Met. Jonah gave a lot of history and explanations of AACs. This one is being held in the West partly to facilitate participation from the Diocese of Alaska, and said a lot of the exhibitions (and planned liturgical music) will express the cultural diversity in the OCA, along with our common faith and mission. Met. Jonah expressed regret that the last several years in the OCA have proven to be such a huge distraction from living the Gospel. He hopes that this AAC will help inspire people to recommit to the Gospel, with the Strategic Plan incorporating new evangelism models to help all dioceses and parishes evangelize their respective regions and peoples.

        Around 12 minutes, John Maddex starts asking about the divide between people who come from a “traditional” perspective versus those who… don’t. 🙂 Met. Jonah said he is hoping for a restatement of the 1992 Synodal statement on homosexuality to go with the individual diocesan statements given by himself, Bishop Michael, and Bishop Matthias.

        The part that made me stand up and cheer though, was how while talking about his hoped-for renewal, Met. Jonah referred to the political upheaval and disobedience to the teachings of the Church as the “work of the devil”, the struggle against them as “spiritual warfare”, and he followed that by saying that we need to conform our lives to the Gospel rather than “letting our minds and hearts be seduced by the spirit of the age”.

        In short, Met. Jonah is very conscious of what’s going on, but sounds cautiously optimistic about Seattle. I almost wish they’d waited until after the MC/Synod meetings to interview him, though, because I’d feel a lot better if I knew whether or not he will feel the same way about Seattle after those meetings are done.

        • CodeNameYvette says

          It sounds to me as though His Beatitude is coming loaded for bear. Which he needs to do. Let’s hope he has somebody watching his back.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      I wish the interviewer had been a little more careful with his wording. He referred to BOTH the Orthodox Church and, in the same breath and sentence, the “larger Christian Church!”
      The main difference between an All-American Council and the famous council of the Russian Church in 1917 is that at the latter there was no attempt to have parishes represented, although, I believe, the clergy of the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin were represented. Of course, before and after the All-Russian Council, dioceses held their assemblies at which the units of a diocese WERE represented; however, the Russian Church is not and was not a diocese: at that All-Russian council the administrative units of a CHJRCH were represented, but not parishes.

      • Blessings and peace to you from the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This thread is so long, and contains within it much repetition and re-working of the same issue. Then, how it happened I know not, but in the end we land on the LGBT issue once again. It’s like the old saying: All roads lead to Rome–here they all lead to homosexuality, the great obsession of the conservative orthodox. All that chatter about Bp. Melchisidek, a man I have met on more than one occasion. He appears to be a respectful and spiritual person. The members who have been writing about him seem apoplectic about his decision that these Greek nuns ought to leave Washington because they are there (allegedly) without canonical blessings. If the reason he wanted them to return is based on the fact that he wanted to keep his “secret” hidden–then he certainly has been unsuccessful. This info has been obtained–I believe–without the help of these nuns. What these nuns know and when did they know it is of no interest. It seems, keeping with their vows, they are not speaking publicly.
        There’s a battle of the Synod going on indeed, but only part of it is happening inside the Synod. Most of it is happening among a group of self-appointed not-ordained leaders from both the conservative and liberal side to assure majority representation of one viewpoint or another at the Synod.
        The alleged problem with Bp. Melchisidek is bogus. It’s another right wing birther story. Even the person promoting this problem indicates the information is equivocal at best. Yet George still wants to hear about why those nuns, whose position hear is now caononical through the Russians. George your obsession about these nuns begs the question: Why? Don’t go on about they’re holy women who need protection, assistance etc, because I’m not buying it. What does their presence in your life represent to you? Why do they matter so much to you? Are you related in anyway rto any of them?
        Whether or not you all feel that HB Jonah has the right paperwork or not, this is a pile of sticks not even worth starting a fire for. I propose that this is the distraction to keep our your attention from some other more important issue.
        To think that Bp. Melchisidek is in any position to ‘bargain’ with the Greeks to overtake the OCA? You guys nuts? There are too many people who are in more important positions in church politics who will not let that happen. Then George goes off on another tangent not wanting the OCA to go to a less conservative jurisdiction. Don’t worry George, the OCA would split apart at that point, with all of you going off on your own merry ways. This boat is held together barely with spit and glue. Find another hobby, George; it’ll be better for your blood pressure and ulcers.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          What an utter calumny and false witness! Click on George’s name to see all his posts, not mention some lead articles. If he were obsessed, one might expect that a large portion, the majority,even, would be about those nuns and what is seen as a paranoid attempt to preempt anything the nuns MIGHT divulge. Yes, indeed, the monastics did nothing of the sort buy were super-modest as nuns should be.

        • Why Stephen Montgomery? Why? Because these nuns were wronged by +Mel. They were abused because of his lack of integrity and hounded out of the DC Cathedral and OCA because of awful lies spread by Faith Skordinski and +Mel.

          If you knew of what you write, which you have proven you do not, you would beg the forgiveness of these monastics not that they would even consider your offense against them a sin in their humility. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a stranger to this real life tragedy.

          May God bless Met. Hilarion and ROCOR for showing love and compassion to receive these monastics and shame on the OCA Synod and +Mel in particular for his sinful pride and arrogance in covering up his wrong-doing. It is now and will continue to be on his soul what he has done and, in truth, all these nuns asked, out of their love for +Mel. was for him to get right with this so that it does not weigh down his soul. That is why, Mr. Montgomery!

          • Jacob, the only thing I can disagree with in your post is that I don’t think this is Stephen Montgomery, just a different Stephen.

            You can tell Stephen Montgomery by his tendency to communicate by stringing sentence fragments with ellipses. (He must be a real charmer in real life.)

          • Jacob
            Stephen Montgomery is StephenD and is me…..Stephen is someone else…Please get this right..Father John Whiteford has made the same mistake…Please take my name off of this post George I’d deeply appreciate it and would people please begin to pay attention to what they read befoe they write..although Stephen certainly writes better posts than I do..
            Stephen Montgomery

            Jeepers helga you always need to be nasty don’t you

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              StephenD said, “Jeepers, Helga, you always need to be nasty, don’t you ?,” but had trouble writing it. I wonder, would he like to add that Helga not only needs to be nasty, but she IS so? Otherwise, I say, why criticize someone for his or her needs?

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Stephen, methinks thou doth protest too much. The nuns are barely 10% of the content on this thread. But, just like the Iranian pastor that I recently wrote about, I don’t like to see Christians being persecuted. Maybe that’s not a big deal to you but it is to me.

          • Ok George, I had asked earlier on your view of what would happen at the AAC in Seattle. Now as the event is right around the corner, what do you think will happen, given the following — we will likely have a new OCA Chancellor to be announced in the next week or so, (likely to be an archpriest from Bethlehem, PA) given that Mark Stokoe has just reported on the results from the recent Metropolitan Council, that some members of the Council and Synod continue to feud with the Metropolitan, finances of the OCA continues to be an issue, and if registration trends continue, the Diocese of the South and the West will have greater numbers at the AAC — what is going to happen?

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              The handbook has just been posted online at:


              Note the resolution about internet behavior, submitted by the Philadelphia deanery.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I dunno. I think Jokoe let the cat out of the bag that the Syosset Soviet is scared that the New York plan will go into effect. I imagine the Yahoos will try to force a “no confidence” vote and may even become so unhinged in their hatred that they’ll try something uncanonical. Then again, it seems that it will be poorly attended. The “Pilgrimage to Alaska” has been cancelled due to lack of interest (and I mean ZERO people signed up for it).

              Being a veteran of two GOA Clergy-Laities, I can honestly say that the idea of a “national conference” for an Orthodox Church is pretty much an oxymoron. It’s OK if you want to meet and greet people but otherwise, it won’t accomplish anything positive. The life of the Church is the parish and the parishes surrounding their bishop –i.e. the Diocese. Only a Holy Synod can somewhat direct the life of a national church.

              I think people feel this in some inchoate fashion, hence the impending poor attendence.

  29. Michael Bauman says

    Dn. Brian in a previous post said:

    Heterosexual attraction does appear to be natural and therefore blameless, even if celibacy is the better way. God did say it is not good for man to live alone, He did create the woman for the man, and He did call the result “very good.” But He never intended the man and the woman to stay in the garden just as created; He always intended them for more. Monasticism aims at that more

    Marriage also aims at the more and allows a more complete fulfillment of the male/female synergy that God has built into His creation. Unfortunately, we allow carnal desire to spoil even what God has said is ‘very good’. Thus the need for monastics. In the Kingdom the genders will no longer have to be segregated and can exercise that synergy with out carnality.

    Equally unfortunately, the idolization of monasticism has diminished the holiness of marriage in the Church and, frankly, I’m a little ticked off by that. IMO, such an attitude is born out of fear of the often overwhelming power of the gift of sexuality AND the fecundity which it is but a small part. The idolization of monasticism also tends to free the rest of us from the responsibility for practicing ascesis in our own lives.

    It is just as high and profound a calling to be a husband/father or a wife/mother as it is to be a monastic.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      I agree, Michael, and I didn’t mean to say that monasticism achieves the “more” whereas married life doesn’t, only that monasticism also aims at the same objective, as an alternative path to greater holiness for those called to it, which isn’t most people.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Monasticism was not meant originally to be just a way for the few. It was conceived rather as a consequent application of common and general Christian vows. It served as a powerful challenge and reminder in the midst of all historical compromises. Yet a worse compromise has been invented, when Monasticism had been reinterpreted as an exceptional way. Not only was the Christian Society sorely rent asunder and split into the groups of “religious” and “secular,” but the Christian ideal itself was split in twain and, as it were, “polarized,” by a subtle distinction between “essential” and “secondary,” between “binding” and “optional,” between “precept” and “advice.” In fact, all Christian “precepts” are but calls and advices, to be embraced in free obedience, and all “advices” are binding. The spirit of compromise creeps into Christian action when the “second best” is formally permitted and even encouraged. This “compromise” may be practically unavoidable, but it should be frankly acknowledged as a compromise. A multiplicity of the manners of Christian living, of course, should be admitted. What should not be admitted is their grading in the scale of “perfection.” Indeed, “perfection” is not an advice, but a precept, which can never be dispensed with.

        Fr. G. Florovsky, “Empire and Desert,” The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Vol. Ill, No. 2 (1957), pp. 133-159

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Once in a while, a child may ask why men have nipples (they don’t use that word) on their breast. I’m never confident in answering and try to avoid it. If, as the Scripture teaches us, the creation of woman was an afterthought, perhaps that might provide a clue?

      • CodeNameYvette says

        Or, in my own highly ignorant opinion, God waited for Adam to discover his own need for her before creating Eve. I don’t much like the idea of an omniscient God having afterthoughts.

        Your nipple question I would counter by saying that we don’t know and can’t know if Adam had them. Or a belly button, for which he certainly had no need. No placenta, no navel.

        After starting the human race, then, the embryo develops up to a point before differentiating as to male or female. So we all share a certain basic ground plan, including elaborated sweat glands on our chests, before the sexual remodeling sets in before and after birth.

  30. Read It And Weep says

    Very well put Michael. The ascetic life is the higher path whether one is married or celibate, whether one lives the monastic life in a formal way, or one strives for perfection in the world. They are a compliment to one another and not in opposition. This can be seen in monastic communities that are healthy and open to us who live in the world and who gain strength by encountering the examples of men and women monastics who encourage us to aim high and not settle for just “getting along” on the spiritual path. Nothing should be idolized, not marriage, not monasticism.
    For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Ps 74:12 He is the one we worship!

  31. I had hoped to attend the AAC in person, but due to an illness in the family will not be able to do so. I have therefore decided to upload a project in support of Met. Jonah that I’ve been working on for some time. The project consists of two “campaign button” style images featuring our Metropolitan and are intended to be worn while at the AAC in a show of support. Rather than going for something satirical, I decided this morning in favor of understatement and to simply let the images speak for themselves.

    There are two different button images to select from, and the images can be downloaded from here: http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff436/Heracleides/AAC%20Buttons/ Click on the images without the lines and save them by right-clicking and selecting “save as” from the options listed. Once you’ve saved the images to a directory (be sure to remember where you’ve put them) you can then go to Zazzle and have buttons made up for your use quite inexpensively using the following url: http://www.zazzle.com/make_a_button-145067964138452953

    Once at the url above, simply select a button size and them hit the orange “Customize It” button and follow the instructions. (The sample buttons on my Photobucket Album from where you downloaded the images depict the 3 inch buttons, but the images themselves are suitable for all sizes available. In the samples, the area inside the red lines is what will be visible, that outside the lines will of course curl underneath the button.)

    I hope folks attending the AAC will find the buttons useful and go to the effort of making a few for yourself and friends too wear with pride while at the council. Better yet, make a few extra buttons and hand them out to others at the AAC – the more open support our Metropolitan receives in Seattle – the better.

    • Heracleides, I was also hoping to go to the AAC. Maybe we could have gotten together to start a “Jonah, bomaye!” chant. 🙂

    • This is a very nice idea, and the graphics are very impressive – but may I suggest something a bit more accessible? The mantiya of the OCA Metropolitan is a light (aqua?) blue color. (See http://www.htocnb.org/images/Adminstration/014.jpg) Simply wearing a light (aqua?) blue ribbon in support of the Metropolitan would be something that people can easily do (or easily get) as well as be quickly made to pass out at the AAC. Just a thought.

  32. Hey, how is that Stokoe BS Bingo coming along?

    I used to regularly watch Looney Tunes as a kid, so I must admit I am currently entertaining a fantasy in which I give Stokoe a computer, booby-trapped, so that where every time he types one of those keywords, a boxing glove on a spring punches him in the face.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Helga, you gotta forgive me. The Stokoe BS Bingo has to be completed. Any help in this regard would be mucho appreciado!

    • So far, my card has marked “Jonah,” “aporia,” “Metropolitan Council,” and “dysfunctional.” All I need is a “Hopko” and I have a BS Bingo!

    • Pravoslavnie says

      Indulge your fantasy please. It seems that Stokoe is back to sniping at the Metropolitan again tonight.

      • See how Stokoe cruelly mocks the Metropolitan for daring to suggest that we lower everyone’s assessment to $50, and then for having taken the numbers off the top of his head.

        But if the Metropolitan had actually gone so far as to draft a budget on paper, Stokoe would be accusing him of trying to force it on the Metropolitan Council. And God forbid if there had been a mistake in that somewhere – “the Metropolitan attempted to force everyone to adopt a half-assed budget that he’d drawn up himself, even though he forgot essential line item X and miscalculated item Y.”

        And what, pray tell, is wrong with drying out the bloated corpse that is the OCA’s central administration? $105 per year is a crapload of money, and the Diocese of NY/NJ is flat-out saying they can’t do it anymore, they really need the money on the diocesan level. It didn’t sound to me like the Metropolitan would have asked what else they needed other than his own staff as a rhetorical question but as an actual question (as in, he was asking for suggestions as to what else is strictly necessary, not saying that nothing else was necessary), and it’s one that should have given some of these people pause to think.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I think anyone who tinkers with anything other than tithing ought to be drummed out of the Church! Just kidding about the drumming out business, But, how can a Christian church, especially the one that claims to be The One True Church, not base its financing on anything other than tithing?

          • I can agree with you on that issue, Carl. I believe the Antiochians also replaced their head tax with a tithe. Obviously there are other financial issues in the Antiochian Archdiocese, most notably their failure to get independent external audits, but the parish level issue of giving to Englewood seems to have worked out okay.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Tithing? Proportionate giving is fine, but tithing? In my 1968 Encyclopedia Brtittanica, volume 22, there is a long scholarly, well-documented article on tithing/Christian giving. from its beginnings in the Middle
            East and in ancient Judaism and even up to the Mormons of today, as well as characterization of most of the other means by which churches get their hands on Christians’ money. The last sentence in this thoroughly researched article goes like this: “The Orthodox Churches have never accepted the idea of tithes and the Orthodox have never paid them.”
            That, of course, was 1968, before the large flood of converts from (especially Southern) Protestantism, into the Orthodox Church. Tithing to them was, and is, a given. I believe that article is factual for 1968 and the entire history of the Orthodox Church until then. So I think it’s a little uppity of some of us to make it a “sine qua non” of being Orthodox.

            • Monk James says

              Bp Tikhon does well to write:
              ‘The last sentence in this thoroughly researched article goes like this: “The Orthodox Churches have never accepted the idea of tithes and the Orthodox have never paid them.”
              That, of course, was 1968, before the large flood of converts from (especially Southern) Protestantism, into the Orthodox Church. Tithing to them was, and is, a given. I believe that article is factual for 1968 and the entire history of the Orthodox Church until then. So I think it’s a little uppity of some of us to make it a “sine qua non” of being Orthodox.’

              Still, it remains true, and much to the benefit of The Church that all those converts bring with them the ideal of tithing and that they’re used to coming to church on Wednesday night.

              Now, if only the rest of us orthodox would be at least that much protestant!

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Your Grace, I’m not understanding you here. Are you in favor of tithing or not? Just for the record, I very much am. The Church will never get off the ground in America until we go to a true tithe.

              In fact, I’ll go further than this: it is because we do not tithe that we have 98% of the problems that we do have. Niggardly giving provide niggardly results. My original thesis, The Dumping Ground was predicated on this fact.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                George. I am neither for nor against tithing; however, the idea of any approved per cent of giving is, to me, problematic. Our Lord very, very clearly neither established nor approved any such standards. It seems to me the closest to a standard He approved was Everything, as in the widow’s mite. I posted the Encyclopedia Brittanica article not in order to inveigh for or against tithing, but in reaction to an almost hysterical statement here that tithing was the ONLY possible way for the Orthodox.
                The Diocese of the West, during the incumbency of Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) of blessed memory, established “percentage assessment of parishes. The earliest percentage was modest, I think 5 or 7 percent. Percent of what? Percent of the average of the income and expense (minus active building program funds) of the parish for the reporting year. Our hope was that neither the diocese nor the OCA would tax individuals directly. Each parish established its standard, or lack of standard, for individual parishioners. While DOW adopted the percentage assessment based on the average of income and expenditure, the DOS adopted the tithe (ten percent) of income approach. Other dioceses expressed interest, but their Bishops, for example, Metropolitan Herman, said that their parishes would NEVER allow access to their financial statements. (!) The head tax still is in effect for the OCA annual assessment! This, of course, is one of the causes of the low membership figures produced by the OCA (and other “head-tax” Orthodox jurisdictions): the lower membership you report the more money the parish keeps (for essentials like Priests’ raises, and so on). The OCA annual membership reporting is preposterous. It’s as if the U.S. Census Bureau decided to count only people who filed an income tax return as “population!”

                • WesternPA OCA parishioner says

                  I am not so sure that the head tax drives low membership reports. In my parish we have about 90 paying an assessment of $200 each. The parish keeps some and sends a portion to the diocese and then the diocese keeps some and sends on the $105 (I think that is the current number) to OCA. Of course I don’t know that my parish priest makes an honest report but I should hope so because he is the WesternPA chancellor as well! The reason I have my doubts on head-tax driving low membership reports by the OCA is because I regularly count attendees on Sunday and I never get near 90 including the children. The truth is that many of those paying the assessment never attend services – for various reasons. The most common reason is that they are shutins with health issues or transportation problems. So at my parish, just one data point, the assessment number is a good count of adult members not counting children and young adults like college students.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Carl, tithing goes to the parish. The dioceses should tithe to the central chancery.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Bravo Helga! You go, Girl!

          Carl, the tithe you talk about is done on the parish level and only the parish level. In the DoS, the parish then tithes to the Diocese. If the Dioceses in turn want to tithe to DC, that’s OK by me, but the “head tax” is scandalous. I’m speaking as an Hellene here: we had to pay head taxes (jizya) to the Sultan just to keep our heads (and I mean that literally). Enough of it and the stupidity which has characterized the central administration for too long.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Individual tithes to parish. Parish tithes to diocese. Diocese tithes to OCA. A self-regulating mechanism; in good times, all organizational levels have more funding, and in lean times, all levels get squezed proportionately.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Actually not. When tithing happens in the Church (notice the definate article), it is the sign of a healthy church and one that will not be buffetted by the vicissitudes of the business cycle.

  33. Read It And Weep says


    Taking the last OCAT headline by Jesse Cone, it seems that Stokoe’s latest drama queen hissy fit against Jonah again proves that those of us who have seen through his agenda for years and being proven right.

    I can’t wait for someone to take his words apart for they reveal Stokoe real desire to control the OCA. I can only hope that his latest tirad will not obscure the fact that the MC has sent forward the name of John Jillions, the brother-in-law of Eric Wheeler to be the next OCA Chancellor. The troika of Jillions, Wheeler and Stokoe at the helm of the OCA will not be a step forward but a return to the past.

    The myth of the 1917 All Russian Council as the be all and end all of how all Orthodox Churches, especially the OCA should be administrated has got to be put to an end. With these three working overtly and covertly running the OCA, bishops will be figureheads good only for ordaining and otherwise directly handled by the MC as a Synod. This will further tear the central church away from the dioceses.

    The latest abomination of the MC meeting taking the Metropolitan to task and then slapping him and the Synod by recommending Jillions who was a flop in Rahway, a disaster in Australia, unable to run an Orthodox school in England and now in Canada, where, to be honest I don’t know how he has done there, but pray tell what successful administrative record does this man have except that he is joined at the hip with Wheeler and Stokoe. His name was carefully guided through the MC “vetting” process by Fr David Garretson, who is the one who said he would take a baseball bat to the side of the head of Robert Kondratick. This is a man with an agenda too.

    Let us hope that the Synod will wake up and see that JIllions will be Stokoe’s puppet, at his beck and call working for the MC, which he was be expected to swear alliance to as part of the MC vetting process. Folks, the OCA is dying, wake up. Jonah seems to be the only one fighting against this mad tide. If they get their way, sweeping Jonah aside will turn the OCA into an openly congregational church, further isolated in world Orthodoxy and further marginalized as a church in the USA.

    Stay strong Jonah. Don’t let the “bas*****” get you down. Take heart in this Sunday’s epistle and gospel readings

    • Carl Kraeff says

      A few things have jumped out in your diatribe, which was the cherry on top to previous postings. First, your over-the-top reaction to Father Jillions as the possible new chancellor. Second, your attack on Father Garretson, which is also unseemly. Third, the ludicruous specter of congregationalism. Fourth, your seemingly blind devotion to all things Jonah and your attack dog attitude to anyone who would dare to criticize your dear leader. You don’t believe in stillettos–broad axe and poison gas are your weapons of choice aren’t they?

      Coupled with Helga’s strange highlighting of the issue of assessment, your post got me to think that y’all are in the beginning stage of a campaign to obscure (and fight) the central charge of Stokoe’s article: that the central feature of the combined MC/Lesser Synod meeting was sustained and unresolved criticism of +Jonah. I have not decided yet whether I should believe Stokoe; however, the more I read you and Helga (and previously George, Jesse, et al), the more I am inclined to believe that the problem since 2008 may indeed be the Metropolitan. Why else would you all be pursuing such a blatant scorched earth policy, take no prisoners approach?

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        One need not be a devotee or admirer of Metropolitan Jonah, or even like him at all, in order to agree with much of Read It and Weep’s analysis of Mrs. Steve Brown’s vengeful explosion. This explosion is not only the release of stored-up noxious gasses which have plagued him since his Bishop exercised his stewardship of the Diocese of the Midwest and kicked him off the Metropolitan Soviet, but it is also a continuation of his frustrated outcry while waiting for an elevator after the election of Metropolitan Jonah, instead of Archbishop Job, at the last All American Convention: “That wasn’t supposed to happen!”

        And was Read It and Weep’s “attack on Father Garretson” any where near the volume, ferocity, and unseemliness of Mrs. Brown’s characterization of Metropolitan Jonah’s conduct at the Metropolitan Soviet meeting? It is Garretson’s remark about taking a baseball bat to the side of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick’s head which is the epitome of unseemliness, Karl, not any reference to its source. A priest who says such a thing can’t sanely imagine that he is an evangelical example in any way at all. On the contrary!

        The threat of congregationalism is at least as old as Father Alexander Schmeman’s tenure at SVS. He, and Father John Meyendorff and others noted the dangers of creeping congregationalism and inveighed agasinst them rather often. I believe that Helga and Read It and Weep were not trying to fight OR obscure Stokoe’s no doubt accurate characterization of the continued attacks against the unfortunate Metropolitan, but were highlighting it and deploring it.

        And what is strange about Helga’s “highlighting” the issue of assessment? The issue of assessment is very important, and failure to address it effectively at past All American Parish/Congregational Conventions (held jointly with a convocation of the Holy Synod) is a very real EXiSTENTIAL problem for the OCA, always the source of the greatest agitations at those events. Nothing could be more conventional and ordinary tham Helga’s “highlighting” of the assessment issue.

        I personally found Mrs. Steve Brown at his most egregious when he lampooned poor Bishop Nikon, who, many feel, had been the original source/leak of Holy Synod minutes and other information about the progress of the Wheeler/ArchbishopJob/Kucynda/MetropolitanHerman-led project to Mrs Steve Brown from the beginning!

        All this fuss and bother, brothers and sisters,originates in the pathological need of Mrs. Steve Brown for an audience.The Church and the internet are her audience: anyone who threatens her hold on it is in deep trouble.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Of course you would believe that Carl. Your own distaste of +Jonah has long been apparent to most of us.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          So, why am I sad, almost depressed? I think that your “distaste” is my disappointment in the man. Of course, I do question some of his actions and his ability to build up consensus, perhaps the most important of his responsibilities. I am also opposed to any attempt for the Metropolitan, any Metropolitan, to have powers that exceed Canon 34. That’s about it.

          • I was wondering when you were going to bring out that tired, little chestnut of canon 34. (which btw, +Jonah has never violated.) You know, you’re in good company: if you go the Phanar’s website, it’s all about canon 28 this, canon 28 that. Very little about going to the nations, evangelism, charity, etc. That’s when you know an idea has degenerated from a message to a cliche.

      • Carl, have you read the book “American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism”, by Nicholas Ferencz?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I forgot to add one thing. I pray and hope that Deacon Eric Wheeler will be an episcopal candidate. Perhaps even for the Diocese of the South, which would increase the number of bishops with integrity and courage.

      I just visiting Orthodox Forum and hd the fortune to read an interesting exchange between Nick Skovran and somebody who calls himself Pete Pappas. Nick believes that there is a Team Bob Kondratick that consists of Bishop Tikhon (retired), Bishop Nikolai (retired), Bob Kondratick (of course), somebody who calls himself Monk Silver, and Father Fester. Coincidentally, these folks by and large are among the most vocifirous anti-OCAN voices on the Internet. I wonder if there is some kind of an alliance between Team Jonah and Team Bob, and between OCAT and Momomakhos.

      • Interesting you bring that up, Carl. Stokoe claimed that there was some kind of conspiracy between the “Team Kondratick” you mentioned (Bishops Tikhon and Nikolai, Fr. Fester, Monk James Silver, and Kondratick) and Metropolitan Jonah himself. But the leaked emails indicate Metropolitan Jonah never even picked up the phone when Bishop Nikolai called, or answered his text messages. As for Bishop Tikhon, well, ask him how often he hears from Metropolitan Jonah these days. A strange conspiracy that is, where it appears everyone forgot to tell the principal all about it.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Carl Kraeff (is that Polish?):
        You know, you already brought up this matter of an “alliance” of mine: you didn’t just happen across it on the sorry failed-clergy site, the Forum. You referred to it archly with raised eyebrows in the same way on September 16th, here. And I replied to it at length. Why don’t you click on the line at the upper right-hand side of your last message: you will find your “discovery” there. I find your repeat performance more scurrilous than anything “Read it and Weep” or Helga have posted here.

        When a person has exhausted all his intellectual resources in a failed attempt to present a reasoned argument, it sometimes happens that that person resorts to an attack on the associations of his interlocutor(s). It’s sad, but understandable. Maybe it’s time to stick one’s thumb in one’s mouth while clutching the security blanket in the other hand.

      • Monk James says

        I did this? And that, too?!

        Now, that’s news, at least to me.

        Where does Carl Kraeff go for such esoterica?

        Would we rather be talked about than ignored? Not a hard choice to make.

      • I pray that Deacon Wheeler will become a Bishop too…We know that he will not put up with foolishness..
        I live in the Diocese of the South and I pray he will become my Bishop

        • Wouldn’t he have to become a priest first?

          • yes….he would…..but damn…imagine the possibilities…he knows where the bodies are buried and probably knows where the money went,,,I bet Mr.Kondratick is scared to death…as is everyone else involved including our favorite cyber bishop..

            • Stay tuned for the premiere of OCA Slickers II: The Legend of Kondratick’s Gold.

            • Monk James says

              StephenD writes:
              ‘yes….he would…..but damn…imagine the possibilities…he knows where the bodies are buried and probably knows where the money went,,,I bet Mr.Kondratick is scared to death…as is everyone else involved including our favorite cyber bishop..’

              but he is mistaken.

              Adn Eric Wheeler’s concerns — same as my own in 1999 — were more about Met. Theodosius’s handling of the ADM money than about anything Fr Robert Kondratick was accused of doing. Besides, FrRK was found innocent by a judge of the Superior Court of NY.

          • Yes, but he could still be nominated and elected bishop. They would just ordain him a priest one day, then consecrate him bishop on another day. St. Photius the Great was just a layman when he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople, and they just raised him to each successive clerical rank over several days.

            Protodeacon Eric has said some not-so-polite things about the present situation that I did not care for. On the other hand, he certainly knows the sting of getting the “leave of absence for the crazy mental case” treatment from the OCA establishment. Notice the eerie similarities between this from 1999 and what happened to Metropolitan Jonah earlier this year:

            Among these eleven pages of newly discovered memos are ones from Brum directing +Theodosius on how to handle Wheeler’s termination. In a memo entitled “Comments on the letter placing Protodeacon Eric Wheeler on a six-month leave of absence” Brum advised the Metropolitan: “Do not have even a second thought about your rights in doing this”, “have him undergo a psychological evaluation” “it is imperative that Father Bob be forbidden (yes, forbidden!) (emphasis in the original) from making any statement, public or private, about this, other than acknowledging that Wheeler is on a leave of absence

            What I’d worry about is whether or not Protodeacon Eric is under Stokoe’s thumb, and for that reason, I think he should just stay a deacon. We do not need any more of the old guard in positions of authority in the OCA.

            • I agree with you, Helga. Also, I think that a person who might be considered for the episcopate should have several years (if not a lot more than that) of experience as a priest. I’d feel a lot of sympathy for any diocese who has a bishop who has zero experience as a shepherd of even a flock in a parish before he becomes the shepherd for an entire diocese.

              • I agree, Katherine. Metropolitan Jonah, for example, didn’t have very much experience as a bishop, of course, but he’d had many years of experience as a parish lay assistant, and also as a mission priest.

                His success in those ministries can’t replace the formation he would have had as an auxiliary and regular diocesan bishop, but he was not unqualified.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Helga! You write of some “St. Photius the Great.” Were you perhaps referring to the ninth century Patriarch Photius of Constantinople who so zealously fought against, among other things, the “filioque” addition to the Creed? Jaroslav Pelikan told me that Photius was the sort of man one would not want to encounter alone on the streets of Constantinople after dark. (We’d been discussing a book by Pelikan’s good friend Umberto Eco which took place in Byzantium.). I’d be amazed to learn that anyone had canonized him! It’s true that he went right from the unordained state to the episcopacy.
              But those were the days when an Emperor could depose a Bishop or Patriarch. Photios was originally appointed Patriarch by the Emperor, after the Emperor deposed Patriarch Ignatius, who had been a great warrior against the iconoclasts. Later on Photios, too, was deposed a couple times.
              As for Protodeacon Eros Wheeler being under Stokoe’s (i.e., Mrs.Steve Brown’s) thumb, I think that’s highly unlikely. If anyone would be a “master” in their relationship, it would surely be the Protodeacon. As I’ve mentioned before, the close ties between Wheeler, Stokoe, and Peterson go back to their SVS days together.

              • Does this surprise you, your grace? http://goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=527

              • Your Grace, I think you might be mixing up St. Photius with more notorious figures like St. Athanasius or St. Cyril.

                St. Photius was by most accounts not a bad guy. He loathed power and openly said he’d rather be dead than be patriarch, but he loved teaching and learning. Even the Latins who hated him were amazed by his intellect. He reminds me of that guy from the Twilight Zone episode who is the last man on earth, and thinks it’s awesome because he can now read without interruption.

                He was the patriarch who placed the veil of the Mother of God in the sea and sunk a whole fleet of invaders, and dedicated the apse mosaic in Hagia Sophia after the death of iconoclasm. The whole anti-filioque thing is just one slice of the cake.

                Also, his exclamation from the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit is one of my favorite things to yell at my computer screen, “O DECEIVING DRUNKENNESS OF IMPIETY!”

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  Dear RHowell and Helga. Thank you so much for that correction. No excuse. However, what Jaroslav Pelikan told me about that Sainted Photios is absolutely correct. There was no confusion, because the remark came up during a discussion on opposition to the filioque and Eco’s book..
                  It’s interesting, is it not, that so many partisans of Western Rites like to claim that all saints in the Roman Calendar “before the split” should be considered Orthodox! Obviously, in the ninth century, Photius’s time, and even before, many Westerners were fully heretical in their confession of faith. Photius was extremely intemperate about the Russians of his day, those “savages.” Only thing, the Russians didn’t practice impaling.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Does this mean that Protodeacon Eros Wheeler has begun attending Church regularly again and, perhaps, even, serving/ Did this happen after his wife, Alla, fell asleep? It used to bother me that he would write personal letters to the Bishops, but not deign to serve at the Altar…. If he has done, that would be a BIG improvement!

          • You, my dear, Bishop Tikhon are a very sick man. You know the truth and yet you twist the truth for your own sick delight. My wife wrote you in 1999 and recommended that you seek medical help. Your response back to me was to never contact you ever again unless I had an illness for which you had the only medicine for the cure. And all this because I called you on the carpet for the disastrous manner in which you pastorally bungled one of the first public sexual molestation cases in the OCA. Boy, do you hold a grudge! BTW, I’ve been attending church regularly for about 10 years — took a hiatus shortly after I got fired and was a little disillusioned with the church but soon recognized that our faith was much greater than the petty squabbles of church administration.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              With all due respect, His Grace also has selective memory. He has never referred to Bob Kondratick properly as a defrocked priest but as the Archpriest Robert Rodion Kondratick, as if His Grace is trumpeting his contempt for the Holy Synod.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Carl, you may read ALL my posts here by clicking on the upper right hand corner of this one. There you may read over and over until you are dusty and worn, and you won’t find me EVER referring to Mrs. Stephen Kondratick’s son as anything but Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick.
                You might be interested to learn that the ranks of Archpriest (or Protopriest) and Protopresbyter are of different levels. In the Russian Church and, of course, The Orthodox Church in America, her daughter, who received Holy Tradition and all her traditions from the Russian Church, Protopresbyter is a rare title. Before the Revolution and Emigrations, there were only two Protopresbyters in the entire, mammoth Russian Church: the Protopresbyter of the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremliin, and the Protopresbyter of the Army and the Fleet. The OCA/Metropolia early on made the mistake of translating “Protoierej” as Archpriest. Actually “Archpriest” translates the word “Arkhierej”, i.e., bishop. Protopriest would be the more accurate term for those hordes of clergy in the OCA who are now called “Archpriest.” At some hierarchical services where many Priests are standing and quietly “concelebrating” I am always glad to see at least one extremely junior Priest who has not yet become an “”Archpriest”, so that the “Archpriests” may be said to be standing “at the head of” at least one Priest, even if not “the other priests” as the ritual states. In the old Metropolia Father Alexei Yonov was one of the only Protopresbyters. Father Joseph Pishtey was another. Father Basil Hubiak and Father Rodion S. Kondratick were also, as Chancellors promoted to that rank.
                During Metropolitan Theodosius’s tenure, great efforts were always extended towards enhancing the image of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and its luminaries, so he introduced the idea of automatically promoting the Deans of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary (and also St. Tikhon’s, lest prejudice be suspected). And I still have a copy someplace of the photo which shows Father Alexander Schmeman kneeling before Archbishop Iakovos as the latter, of blessed memory, place a mitra on his head. I also have a photo of Father Thomas Hopko in blue vestments and mitra.
                Carl, Carl, what drama and hyperbole! I’ve never trumpeted any contempt for the Holy Synod . What an idea! Of course, I’ve never recognized the deposition through star-chamber and kangaroo court proceedings of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick.
                Carl, isn’t it time for you to repeat that you’ve “discovered” that I love my friends, Protopresbyter and Mrs. Rodion S. Kondratick, Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) and Protopriest Joseph Fester, as if I would ever be ashamed of such friendship?
                As usual, I’m greatly amused by the truly contemptuous phrase, “with all due respect.” That always makes my day.

                • Bishop Tikhon…you forget Protopresbyter Joseph Kreta, Founder of St. Herman Seminary in Alaska. I also remember certain ‘dignitaries’ coming to Kodiak to ‘remove’ HROC of the monies they gained from the sale of my grandparents house. ;One half went to Syosset, one half remained here, as was agreed upon. That wasn’t enough for Syosset; they wanted the entire amount. We, the Council stood our grounds, and they went away without a penny.
                  But then, when Nikolai came, and to the tune of $28,000 (at last count), re-furnished the Bishop’s apartment so he could live like royalty. I know. I was there. He ordered the Sisterhood to supply flowers, sweets, champaigne and other luxury items we could ill afford. Remember, I was there.

            • Deacon Eric, I agree that Bishop Tikhon’s crack about your church attendance was uncalled for. I am sorry that you saw that.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              As one born subject to death, I readily confess that I suffer the human condition of sickness. Only in the Lord may I find health and wholeness. I was somewhat uplifted today to learn that the Protodeacon, Eros Wheeler, has resumed attending Church and has been attending Church for over ten years! While that is not extraordinarily virtuous, it indicates a desire to belong to the Church community. Thank God!
              The Protodeacon refers to his “calling me on the carpet!” When was that? Where was that? Could it be that the Protodeacon considers a slam against me on Mrs. Steve Brown’s blog to be equivalent to being called to account before him? What an idea!
              I admit that I deeply, but unwillingly, offended the Pokrov ladies by repeating that I’ve never been convinced that ANY sexual molestation of their children took place at Holy Trinity Cathedral. That’s still my conviction; however, I recognize that for some there’d be no purpose in life without belief to the contrary.
              I’ll have to resume looking for my copy of that old “original” personal letter Protodeacon Eros had placed into the mailboxes of the members of the Holy Synod, making his scurrilous charges. It seems to me that not even ONE of those charges has resulted in a finding of guilt by snyonr or any agency against ANY of the instances maligned in that poisoned letter. Those were those heady days whens Mrs. Steve
              Brown’s (he’s another one who lost his job: he was allowed to resign without prejudice) blog got started. The very air was permeated with the cries of the Chicken Littles of the day– not,”The sky is falling,” but “The FBI and the Attorney General and IRS are about to come down like a ton of bricks on all criminals and miscreants at Syosset.”
              Friends, the OCA will never recover or bounce back as a healthy institution until the great injustice meted out on Protopresbyter Rodion is righted. The anti-Jonah gang is simply continuing the missions of Mrs. Steve Brown, Protodeacon Eros Wheeler, and ever-memorable Archbishop Job on another front. The biggest nightmare of that whole gang, as well as some members of the Holy Synod is the thought of the righting of that injustice. It seems to be it would be wiser to risk embarrassment in this world than to await that in the next.

          • Azure Wheeler says

            Bishop Tikhon, it would serve you well to lay off judging a man who is more spiritually sound than you could ever hope to be. Enough with the petty comments already. With all due respect, etc, etc.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Stephen, I can assure you that more than the good deacon know where a lot of “bodies are buried” in the OCA. Glass. Houses. Stones.

          • George…if that is true then I wish he would talk…..it would be nice to have all the facts out in the open..
            It might sicken us but at least it would all be known..

      • George Michalopulos says

        Carl, I’ve got a better idea: why don’t we in the DoS just nominate Mark Stokoe for bishop? That way, we could cut out the middleman.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          If it is not +Jonah fixation, it is Stokoe fixation. No room for the Lord, for the Holy Spirit. I do not know what to say. I will be praying hard today.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Oh, and let’s not forget that Mark Stokoe is married to another man. I think he is also married to himself.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Why don’y you just come out and say: I hate Stokoe.

              • Jane Rachel says

                It was low but so was I at the time. Not so much low as tired. Apologies to Mark Stokoe for writing that I think he is married to himself.

                On another note, I have this big flaw that disables me from comprehending corruption. Can’t stand it, can’t understand it, can’t comprehend it. Hate it. It’s the way I was raised. What I saw growing up was a complete lack of corruption. My parents were good to the core. I’m not, but they were.

                On the other hand, or maybe because of this inability to comprehend corruption, I’ve been burned by smiling people so badly that I actually appreciate and relate to this statement from Voices from Russia:

                “None of ‘em could deal with a tenth of what I’ve put up with”.

                Who’s not good in this game, Carl?

                Care to name anyone who is?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I think most of us have gone through periods of disquiet (to choose a genteel term). I grew up a Christian in a Muslim country so I was conditioned to not washing dirty laundry out in the public, to put the best face forward. When I came to the United States, I shed that conditioning somewhat and have become much blunter. But, since old habits die hard, I sometimes appear diplomatic, alternating with frankness. So, some folks here like Ian James rightly think that I am crafty and sly.

                  That said, I do not quite know what you mean by being “good in this game.” I will say this though: I think that the processes and organization that we now have are by and large good. I certainly think that most Orthodox churches that I have attended are good. Most deacons, priests and bishops are good. And, from what I hear and see, we have an exceptionally good Metropolitan Council.

                  I think that it is important to be clear what exactly one means by corruption. The more expansive the definition (in the sense of imperfection), the more actions and folks that it will encompass–a very depressing prospect indeed. So, let’s be a bit more precise and separate “corruption” from incompetence and other states of falling short of perfection. I prefer to use the term to describe a trend of malfeasance/sinning rather than a single instance.

                  To illustrate, let me use the story of Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. If you remember, Valjean had stolen a piece of bread to feed his family, for which he had been sent to prison. After he was released, he stole the silverware of the traveling Bishop but when the Bishop forgave him and lied to the police so that he would not be sent to prison again, Valjan became a new person. So, this man, who became a living saint, had indeed sinned but before he embarked on a lifetime of thievery, he was changed–the trend line was short-circuited and thus he was not a corrupt man.

                  In the case of +Jonah and the Holy Synod, I honestly believe the Metropolitan has some flaws (like any one of us) and that the Holy Synod is trying to help him. I truly believe that those who attack the members of the Holy Synod are doing +Jonah a disservice; they are enabling his behavior that has been causing problems. +Jonah must work with his brother bishops. We must not gainsay or second-guess the decisions of the Holy Synod. There is nothing doctrinal or dogmatic that is in dispute. What is happening is that +Jonah for some reason cannot fulfill the principle responsibility of a Metropolitan: to build consensus and to put the interests of the people and organizations entrusted to him above his own. He must learn to be a servant leader and if he needs help he should get it. He cannot be allowed to be a quasi-Pope, a super bishop, a destroyer of conciliarity–no matter how much one agrees with his individual opinions and actions.

                  • Definition of a good MC = 36 people to manage a budget of ~$2.5 million, with a 1/2 time Treasurer. So with that little work they slowly morph into 6 more committees to run the bureaucracy of the Church.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Because I don’t (hate Stokoe). I don’t even know him. I actually love everybody, I have to at least try, because I’m a Christian. That doesn’t mean I have to LIKE everybody I meet.

                In fact, if you’ve been following this blog, back in March I wrote about how much I commended him and his writing. I also admit that the more I looked into it, the more I realized he’s also been a propagandist and the more I know about the early days at SVS, San Francisco, Syosset, the more I realize that he has WAY too much leverage over the powers that be.

                So lemme get this straight once and for all: I don’t like it ONE BIT when somebody who is innocent is being persecuted. That means +Jonah, the nuns and Pastor Yousef, the Iranian pastor who is condemned to death. The flip side of that coin is that I don’t like those who are doing the persecuting. If they stop, game over.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      As I stated before, and will state again: “Things are being planned and set in motion that you and I have no part in, and unfortunately never will.”

      If Met. Jonah is deposed, replaced, whatever, or simply curtailed in power, the OCA will cease to exist. I wish I knew what was going on, but it seems to me that the fix is in. I hope and pray that I am wrong, I really do. Whatever fallout happens will effect the other Orthodox Jurisdictions, and not in a positive way.

      May God’s will hopefully be done.

      Peter A. Papoutsis

      • Peter, the “fix” was supposedly on before, and it didn’t work. The Holy Spirit outfoxed Mark Stokoe before when +Met. Jonah was elected Metropolitan instead of +Bishop JOB. The Holy Spirit outfoxed them in February when they were planning on forcing +Metropolitan JONAH on a leave of absence (or suspension), and I am hoping the Holy Spirit is going to outfox them at the AAC too. And let’s not forget the election of a bishop in the Midwest who took Mark off the Metropolitan Council.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I hear you. It just that power may lose battles, but rarely does it lose wars. I hope I am dead wrong.


          • Dean Calvert says

            Dear Peter,

            RE: I hope I am dead wrong.

            Me too….for many of us out here (many Antiochians included, I suspect), Metropolitan Jonah and the OCA represent our last, best hope for Orthodoxy in America. We’ve seen what interference from the Old World patriarchates does to the Church, and want no part of it.

            We need to keep the metropolitan in our prayers.

            Best Regards,

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Unfortunately, the interference that is currently being caused is by the old guard in Syosset. I do not see a future for the OCA currently if Jonah is ousted. Not beccause I have some great love for Met. Jonah, I personally do not know the man, but that if the corrupt old guard can do this in the OCA just imagine what they have done and continue to do in the GOA, AOA and ROCOR.

              That’s why I worry. Not because of Old World Patriarchates, but of the institutional corruption at the highest levels of every Orthodox Jurisdiction in America. The GOA is already done, the AOA is already done. Now the OCA. I think our best hope for Orthodox in America is prayer and fasting and to have a humble heart because our leaders, ALL our leaders, really do not care about us, just the money we bring in. The OCA is no different and no better than any of the rest.

              That’s why any unity we get will come from us NOT our leaders. I just hope we will have enough people as Orthodox to have a church in the years to come in this country. Between Cultural and Moral demise, economic failure and church corruption on the sexual and finacial fronts the future seems bleek to say the least. However, I do not despare because God is in charge and everything will eventually work out to his glory and will. Time will tell.

              God Bless


        • Jane Rachel says

          Yes, good one, Karen. Also, let’s not forget that Mark Stokoe is married to another man.

    • George Michalopulos says

      One thing I noticed from Jokoe’s latest incontinence, was that how he recorded the immorality of people shouting a bishop as nothing unremarkable. Also, how even he had to admit that +Jonah did nothing uncanonical. I’d rather not stretch this point too much but I have to take my argument to its logical conclusion, and that is that if all the +Jonah-haters could come up with was a disagreement over style, then they have no canonical brief against him.

  34. Read It And Weep says

    Well, Carl,

    As usual when you are given the facts, straight up, without any sugar-coating, you recoil. Recoil all you want. The facts are the facts and you can call it a whatever you want, makes no difference to me. You are not sure? Ok. I wonder when you will finally get it. Don’t blame us who get it who are not slow learners.

    In closing, it appears that Stokoe is the one engaged in the scorched earth policy, and the scorched earth is the OCA since 2006.

    I will leave you now, so you can continue in your dream world, undisturbed.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I do not know who your source was for the MC decision to nominate Fr Jillions; you may be one of those present for all I know. Both you and your source ought to be ashamed to the very depths of your rotten souls for divulging this information. How arrogant of you to short-circuit the decision making process, to try to influence the Holy Synod. How heartless of you to subject Fr Jillions and his family to all the complications of such a premature disclosure. Shame on you! Iwould have called you sir but you are nothing but a coward hiding behind an Internet nom de guerre.

      • Carl, don’t blame Read it. Even Stan knew about it before it was posted here.

        As for Fr. John Jillions, God willing, he won’t have any employment complications because he’ll be keeping his present employment as Not the OCA Chancellor.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Carl, stop the moral posturing. The whole “have you no decency, Sir?” schtick is tiresome when used to further the aims of our immoral cognoscenti. Can you not see the hypocrisy of your criticism? You castigate the naming of Jillions as possible Chancellor as some unconscionable breach of ettiquite, but this same MC had the temerity to mention Fr Gregory Jensen’s name when last they met. Or are you so blinded by your +Jonah-hatred that you couldn’t see this glaring contradiction. Kool-aid is deadly Carl.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George said: “this same MC had the temerity to mention Fr Gregory Jensen’s name when last they met.”

          Carl: What do you mean George? The official report on the last MC meeting did not contain Fr Jensen’s name. And, even if they did mention Father Jensen’s name, why are you insinuating that they should not have done so?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Go to oca.org and see where Jensen’s name was splattered all over creation.

        • Jane Rachel says

          Carl, an Orthodox Christian “in good standing,” wrote these words to another human being:

          “rotten souls… arrogant… heartless… Shame on you… coward …”

          Read it and Weep, take heart, you are in good company.

          “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt 5:11, 12)

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Jane Rachel–Thank you very much for reminding me of my intemperate words. I was indeed incensed that RIAW, not only divulged the pick of the MC prematurely, but also dragged him through the mud.

            In truth, the words of the Lord can apply to a number of folks who have been reviled in the blagosphere (listed alphabetically): Bishop Benjamin, Father Garclavs, Father Jillions, Metropolitan Jonah, Mr Kondratick, Bishop Melchisedek, Bishop Nikolia, Father Oleksa, Mr Stankovich, Mr Stokoe, Bishop Tikhon, Father Vinogradov and Father Zaccheus, just to name a few.

            Thanks again.

  35. Heracleides says

    Egad! My standing in the community has sunk to a new low – I have merited my very own posting diatribe on Stan-the-Mutilated-Man’s blog. Not sure if I should be chagrined or simply puke.

    • It’s an honor, Herc. All the cool kids get mentioned on Stan’s blog these days. And you get double extra points if he calls you a crack baby.

      Of course, if Stan had ever met a real crack baby, he wouldn’t use such an epithet. The cries of a newborn child enduring withdrawal will just tear your heart out.

  36. cynthia curran says

    Adultery has always been considered wrong even in the Byzantine empire where men in the earlier period could have semi-legal mistresses-concubines. Constantine even punished adultery with death. The Justinian Code change where husbands could not put their wives to death and had to sent the lover a notice 3 times if the death penalty was applied which means adultery was considered wrong.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Well, of course it was and is wrong! Did anyone express the slightest doubts about that? However adultery is the ONLY sexual act prohibited in the Ten Commandments, despite generations of leaders who have used the adultery commandment as a a kind of catch-all for the sexual sins considered worst in any given era.
      Yes, adultery merited the death penalty in Byzantium. But most historians record that Constantine’s mother, Helen, had his first wife, Fausta, suffocated in a steam bath, making it possible for him to take another, different wife. Wasn’t a son killed along the way as well? Or course that was all before he was baptized A by the Arian bishop Eusebius, despite the First Ecumenical Council’s condemnation of Arius, and a long time before an Orthodox Patriarch was installed by Julian the Apostate, ending that particular long episode of heresy in that Patriarchate’s checkered doctrinal history.

      • I am not sure I follow the point here. Yes, Christian interpreters of the Old Testament have read more into the prohibition against adultery than is present in the actual wording. In so doing, they were, it seems to me, following the example of Jesus Christ, who pointedly extended the interpretation of that law to include looking at a woman lustfully. Just as he interpreted the prohibition against murder to include calling someone a fool. (I notice there is also no prohibition against beating someone senseless with a baseball bat in the decalogue.)

        There are many places in the Old Testament where sexual misconduct other than adultery is condemned. I suppose the Apostle Paul was thinking of these when he expressed his shock that the Corinthians were tolerating a man “having” his father’s wife. I don’t suppose he would have been impressed if they had replied that the Ten Commandments don’t specifically mention incest.

        Why are the Ten Commandments considered a bigger deal than the rest of the Old Testament law? To treat them as special is itself an interpretation laid on the Mosaic law. It would make no sense to respect that tradition of interpretation, while rejecting the tradition of interpretation that reads more in the laws than would have been understood to be their literal meaning at the time they were given.

        Our Lord, his Apostles, and the Holy Fathers, have always understood sexual sin to include much more than adultery, and always condemned sexual sin as particularly grave.

        So again, what is the point of dwelling on the fact that one particular brief summary of the law in the Old Testament does not explicitly mention sexual sins other than adultery?

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          R.Howell. I address your last question. I know of no one at all who has been “dwelling”on the fact that the Ten Commandments (or as you qualify them: “one particular brief summary of the law in the Old Testament”) do not explicitly mention (sic) sexual sins other than adultery. I certainly did not dwell on it, so, please tell me, who exactly is dwelling on it? (By the way, it’s not at all clear that the Jews’ Ten Commandments in condemning adultery were not more concerned with a woman as property than they were with sexuality,
          I referred once to the tendency of some to make of the commandment against adultery as a portmanteau prohibition of all sexual behavior except that of a husband and wife (or, by the way, of a husband and a second, third or fourth, etc., wife). I remember being told that going to see “The Outlaw” with Jane Russell was a sin against that commandment!
          Christ fulfilled (all) the Law, including the law which makes eating shellfish or milk with beef an abomination in the sight of God.
          Perhaps R.Lowell disagrees with the exalted position the Ten Commandments occupy in Holy Tradition and even in modern Orthodox Sunday School material? Now there’s where “dwelling on” the Ten Commandments may be found: in the Orthodox Tradition!!!!
          I do not believe that Our Lord, the Apostles OR the Holy Fathers, as R.Howell, confidently asserts, “ALWAYS condemned ‘sexual sin” as PARTICULARLY grave. That sounds more like Islam than Christianity to me. What about the woman caught in flagrante delicto?
          It was offending against the Apostles, His disciples (the Lord called them “these my little ones”) which our Lord seems to have labelled as “particularly grave.
          Which of the Holy Fathers in particular might one consult to find these condemnations of sexual sins as “particularly” grave. Public American religion certainly rests on the pillar of sexual obsession, but I find no Fathers even HINTING that St. Theodora was a particularly grave sinner, although church historians certainly seem to relish recounting the life from which St. Justinian rescued her!

  37. Read It And Weep says

    As I recall, we have been told by Stokoe and Wheeler that the bad old OCA under Kondratick was all about secrecy, back-room deals, covering up stuff, you know, cloak and dagger intrigue. The “new” OCA of Wheeler and Stokoe was supposed to be all about openness, transparency, accountability. Really?

    The current outrage that the name of the “swear allegiance to the MC” candidate, John Jillions, the brother-in-law of Eric Wheeler (who must be feeling some heat for him to post here) is leaked to the Church? Leaked? Why shouldn’t there be open transparency? Stokoe can post stolen emails but he is outraged when the candidate for OCA Chancellor is named? Does he think folks in the OCA are that stupid? Back-room deals? Cover-up? Secrecy? Same old same old, but with a new set of characters?

    I think OCA faithful are not stupid at all and I think they are leaving the OCA because they are sick of what Wheeler and Stokoe have turned the OCA into. They used the Internet to settle old scores with Theodosius, Kondratick, Herman, Tikhon, Soriach, Fester, Jonah?

    They are the new leaders of the OCA. However, exactly what do we have to show for that leadership? Membership is tanking, finances are on a trend to nowhere (see Ringa’s financial reports and forecasts) the brain trusts have isolated Jonah, but expect him to take the fall for a Chancery staff that does not consider their Primate a person they need be accountable to – look at Garklavs, fired by the Synod, yet he still is taking our OCA Head Tax money to the tune of $140,000 a year. The man was fired, but he is still getting paid because of a made up job shoved down our throats by the new leadership model. Back-room deal?

    A Chancellor-designate, who we are not suppose to know about until when? Until the Synod meets? If the man is good enough to be known by the MC, why not the people in the dioceses they are suppose to represent? Secrecy?

    It appears that people have been voting with their feet and pocketbooks since 2006 as the OCA continues its head-long dive into obscurity. Do note, that in 2002, just a mere 9 years ago, the OCA Sobor attracted nearly 2500 people in Orlando, Florida. It was held in the summer, it was a family event, and it was also electing a new metropolitan. Today, the Sobor in Seattle can only attract 525 total. That is an 80% drop in attendance. That is almost a 60% drop from the last Sobor, which elected a metropolitan in Pittsburgh just three years ago and held in the fall.

    The economy in the USA is in the dumper, yet, in the new OCA, resolutions from the dioceses to reduce the assessment, and in the case of NY/NJ to redirect part of that OCA funding to the diocese is met with ridicule by Stokoe. Accountability?

    Stokoe appears to be unnerved by the prospects that the Church, meeting in Sobor might actually do something against his plans again. He is afraid that a DOW/DOS alliance at the Sobor might be enough to pass a resolution from the floor to reduce the OCA Head Tax to that $50 level, which would be most interesting considering that diocesan bishops would love such a reduction but the MC, the keepers of the purse, are against it. Using the great model of the 1917 Sobor, if the assembled speak, we have Conciliarity. Right?

    We were told it was a noble move when Job and Stokoe in the Midwest financially strangled the OCA when they withheld their assessments. Yet, now, when dioceses go through the appropriate process, sending up to the Sobor a Resolution, it is nixed by the OCA insiders because it would financially strangle the OCA! Accountability? Transparency?

    Of course, they must blame Jonah because, although he is only a figurehead, they can’t blame themselves – so they use the old tried and true OCA tactic of calling him a looney tune, (gravely troubled) so they can throw him under the bus and they can all keep their cushy jobs and still play kingmakers or breakers. They are like modern day Pontus Pilate’s “washing their hands” of accountability.

    The situation in the OCA is toxic. Thank God that there are good laity and clergy, trying to avert their eyes from the poison that comes from the pen of Stokoe and Wheeler and the actions of Benjamin and Melchesedek. Wheeler’s utter contempt for Bishop Tikhon speaks volumes to the type of person he has always been. Stokoe’s utter contempt for Jonah is naked now for all the world to see. These are not kind people. They are angry, score-settling people. And now people think Wheeler would make a good bishop? Actually, he would make a perfect bishop in the “new” OCA. Angry, manipulative, power-hungry, appear the qualities of leaders in the “new” OCA.

    Folks, take a close look, only 525 people are going to Seattle. Study papers that are a rehash of old material, fluff and misdirection. Look at how many times the Name of Jesus Christ is mentioned in those papers? How much money was spent carting the preconciliar folks to come up with such a thin work product? How much money is spent on the MC to come together multiple times a year only to spend their time beating up Jonah, under the watchful supervision of Hopko, giving them spiritual cover for their unholy activities. I mean, if your MC spiritual advisor tells everyone who will listen to him, even as late as this past weekend at SVS, that the Holy Spirit was not present at the Sobor in Pittsburgh, what does that tell you about the new OCA?

    Speaking about SVS, not ONE OCA Bishop was present this weekend for Ed. Day. The flagship seminary of the OCA and not one bishop thought it important enough be present, but how many of them made the time to be at the MC meeting and interrogation sessions of Jonah? Priorities? This is the first time that an OCA bishop was not present at SVS for Ed. Day. Yes, Nikon and Tikhon had good reasons, they get passes. The crowd was miserable, the weather was not bad, so you can’t blame the weather, and SVS professors were walking around bemoaning what has become of their Church. When a Hopko is in almost daily phone contact with Stokoe, reporting to him on the MC meeting, you know where the OCA is headed.

    Certainly there is no going back to the Kondratick days, those days are done and over – but the selection of Jilliions, who has and will be in constant contact with Wheeler and his minions, is a back to the future scenario. Jillions is a nice enough person, but his ties to Wheeler, Stokoe, Benjamin, Oleksa, Garklavs, Tosi, Kishovsky – making him easily controlled – does little to turn the page for the OCA nor instill confidence in its future.

    It should be no surprise that I have little hope that as an institution, the OCA will survive. Its demise is already at hand. When bishops don’t show up for Ed Day at SVS (including Jonah) when only 525 people think it important to go to its Sobor, (when was the last time Sobor attendance was that low?) When they try and sneak a new Chancellor into the job because they know of his familial ties to Wheeler and when respectful and thoughtful resolutions on finance are ignored, people will continue to vote with their feet.

    God will not abandon His people or His Church, He will provide a safe harbor for them, but the OCA experiment is over, killed by arrogance, greed and ego. They elected a man, Jonah, who has his faults, but arrogance, greed, ego and sexual perversion are not his sins. What is true is that Jonah was willing to accept the will of the people if they wanted to reduce funding to the OCA; but the Syosset elites knew better and said, NO. I hope the Sobor sends a clear and convincing message that things must change.

    So now, this week, the OCA Synod of Bishops will meet to continue the brutish work of the MC. Another attempt to beat Jonah into retirement will take place. Stokoe will pen another OCAN story to gin up the bishops against Jonah while, Garklavs, Tosi, Kishkovsky, Jillions, Benjamin and Melchesedek will do their part to change the course of the OCA forever!

    But note well, when personal agendas run the Church and they are implemented as policy, the institution will die. The OCA is dying and at least Jonah had the courage to say so. His will, albeit too late, be a prophetic voice that was silenced because a different future for the OCA was peddled by the Syosset insiders old and new.

    This will be my last post on Monomahkos or any other website. I have spewed enough. Not much more to say. Too much time on blogs and not enough time in prayer, fasting, keeping vigil and repentance will cause me spiritual harm. Time for a needed change. Take care and God bless.

    • Heracleides says

      Everything you’ve written above is on target and greatly appreciated. Sorry to see you go, but can very much understand the need. Godspeed.

    • Jane Rachel says

      I have really appreciated your posts here. I wish people would listen. Thank you.

    • Well said! We will truly miss your insightful comments!

    • Everything you say is absolutely undeniable. There is no question that the OCA is dying a slow, painful, and very public death. The numbers (both statistical and financial) will not lie. I pray to God that those who are killing it don’t delude themselves into thinking that they’re offering God service by doing this. Many of the new leaders likely think that they’re ‘cleansing’ the church, starting over, fresh and new. But what they’re offering is not Orthodoxy, it’s gnosticism; pseudo-intellectual enlightenment for the chosen few. Look at their pedigree, listen to their words as they offer you ‘freedom’ from the “yoke of traditionalism.” You’ll hear them say, “This OCA is what the Orthodox Church was always meant to be!” Yet they refuse to hear the words of our Lord in tomorrow’s gospel reading.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      At 0851 am, October 1st, 2911, a Peter Pappas posted on the Orthodox Forum that Fr Jillions was the MC’s candidate, Four minutes later, you posted on this site and threw a hissy fit. Coincidence?

      • Rebecca Matovic says

        RIAW’s style of writing (coherent, persuasive, grammatical) puts him in a different category that P.Pappas on the Forum. But they probably share a common source (or one is the source for the other).

        In fact, RIAW’s style of argument and the sorts of things he knows and the exact way he deploys that knowledge seem to indicate that he’s one of two people.

        Merely a textual observation.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        Good Carl. Call names and make accusations. Always better than dealing with substance. I am so tired.

    • I am also sorry to see you go, Read it. To be fair, though, Metropolitan Jonah was supposed to come to Ed Day. I would not blame him for wanting to rest between trips to the woodshed.

      They haven’t posted any photos of the liturgical services, but I see they had Archbishop Justinian there. He certainly seems to be making regular stops there.

      I hope that we can transfigure our distress over the current situation into fervent prayer and supplication to our Lord and His Mother. If there are any priests reading this, I wonder if they would be willing to set up a molieben/paraklesis that can be prayed alone, with special prayers for the health and well-being of our Metropolitan and the OCA.

      If necessary, I think I can do it myself, but it would be great if a priest somewhere would at least check my work and make sure it’s passable.

      • Archbishop Justinian was there but did not vest or serve during the Liturgy…

      • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

        Dear Helga,

        I would be very most happy to give the help you ask. I have a collection of prayers for roughly this purpose. Please contact my email address that is listed on the OCA website.

        God bless.

        Fr. Yousuf Rassam

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr Yousef, I think that you have come upon something profitable in your response to Helga. I believe that nothing short of repentance and fervent suppication via a national, simultaneous church service is what is called for. Perhaps a massive Forgiveness Vespers.

          • I was thinking about Forgiveness Vespers myself, George. How much pain and strife might have been prevented if the May meetings of the Synod and the MC had opened that way?

            Or if the Synodal retreat in Santa Fe had included that?

            How about if no business of the All American Council takes place until every single person at the council offers and receives forgiveness?

            The basic Rite of Mutual Forgiveness can be done any time, as monastics tend to ask one another’s forgiveness every day:

            The Rite of Mutual Forgiveness
            A sermon may be preached before the rite begins. Then:

            The priest stands beside the analogion and the faithful come up one by one and venerate the icon. After this, each makes a full prostration before the priest, saying: Forgive me, a sinner. The priest also makes a full prostration before each, saying the same words; then the other receives his blessing and kisses his hand. Meanwhile the choir sings quietly the irmoi of the Canon at Paschal Matins, or else the Paschal apostikha.

            After receiving the priest’s blessing, the faithful also ask forgiveness of one another. When all have asked forgiveness and given it, the priest says: Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers…, and the service so ends.

            But remember that Bishop Michael asked Metropolitan Jonah and the rest of the Synod to be reconciled to one another, and the only one who responded affirmatively was the Metropolitan.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Well, er, um, uh, it would be good if the office of forgiveness were served more often everywhere and if it were specially directed to be served throughout the OCA, in all parishes and institutions, before the convening of one of these AACs. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if it were done after the first Vespers Service at this AAC. It’s too bad these AACs are not more fully representative.
            One may meet “lay’ representatives (by the way, the Deacons are not permitted to call themselves “clergy” at these AACs: the only way they can attend is as a parish’s “lay” delegate) who are really not representative of the parishioners of the parish they represent. Why, Rectors of some parishes FLOUT the OCA Statute, presumably with the consent of their Bishop, and their lay “representatives” are little more than representatives of the parish rector, chosen by him and approved by his Parish Council, rather than a parish general meeting. I know of one parish out here where the Rector brazenly had it printed in the monthly bulletin that parishioners should drop in to his office and cast their vote for the delegates “Julia” and “Photini.” That’s such a twist on popular vote. Almost a perversion, right?

            • It certainly wouldn’t hurt if it were done after the first Vespers Service at this AAC.

              Your Grace, are you still going to the AAC? If so, could/would you suggest that? They have nothing going on after Vespers on October 29th, so that would seem to be an ideal time.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Hello Your grace:

              I have a question completely off topic so I will understand if you do not answer or direct me to somewhere we can talk about this off the present site, but…I would love to know if you have any recommendations for an English Bible that is suitable for use by an Orthodox Christian. That’s all. Sorry to deviate from the program.



              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                For “the Bible”, I, like ever-memorable Archbishop Dimitri, believe the KJV (with apocrypha, of course) has not been surpassed. “The Bible” is not, of course, a liturgical book of the Orthodox Church. There are for books of Holy Scripture which ARE liturgical books of the Orthodox Church. First, there is the Book of Gospels. KJV is the best. Then there is the Book of Apostolic Writings (Apostolarion)(Acts and the Epistles). KJV is the best. Then there is the Psalter. For the Psalter I found the HTM Psalter of the Seventy to be better than kJV. Both it and the KJV are accurate, but it is a translation of the Septuagint Psalter (obviously) and thus better also for prokeimena. The Book of Parables (O.T. “readings”) does not exist as a separately bound book in English; however, the actual prescribed readings throughout the Church year from that Book are available and to be found in the Menaion of the St. John of Kronstadt Press, although for the Great Fast, most follow the directions of the Lenten Triodion of Ware to KJV books.
                As you no doubt know, the Septuagint is translated from Hebrew texts older than the texts that were available to the KJV committee, the “Douay” folks, or the producers of the various modern “renditions,” so, though Greek, the Septuagint may be more faithful to “the original” than anything else available.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  I forgot. (I’ll be 79 next month.) There IS an English Apostolarion published by St. Tikhon’s; I’d rather not comment on the Scriptural texts or, say, the prokeimena, alleluiaria, etc.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Thank you your Grace. If I may indulge in one more off topic question, and this is the last one I promise, what exactly IS the status of 3 Maccabees, and Psalm 151 in the Orthodox Church? I know 4th Maccabees is in the Appendix, but what of 3 Macc and Ps 151? I know, or think I know, that Councils Jassy and Jerusalem declared them as authenic scripture, but what did the Russian Church state in 1917 on these book or on the topic of the Canon?

                  OK I’m done. Whatever answer you give me I will do NO follow up as I am way off topic. Sorry George and everybody else.



                • Monk James says

                  In spite of Bp Tikhon Fitzgerald’s note supporting the late and greatly mourned Abp Dmitri’s opinion that the Church of England’s ‘Authorised Version’ (King James Version) ‘has not been surpassed’, I’d assert that the KJV is rife with errors, and not only because its ‘Old Testament’ is (at least theoretically) translated from the hebrew masorah rather than from that of the Greek 70. Factually, it remains to be acknowledged that the AV was largely the work of Wycliffe and not a completely jacobean text.

                  The odd thing, though, is that so many of us english-speaking orthodox (especially formerly protestant converts) are so accustomed to the AV and — in their ‘former delusion’ — so certain of its correctness, that they are emotionally, in their guts, almost completely unable to imagine the possibility that the texts they’ve known and memorized from childhood might be wrongly translated.

                  Consider ‘Our Father’. There’s nothing in there about ‘daily bread’ or ‘tresspasses’ or being ‘led into temptation’. Nothing!

                  Yet the long schismatic and heretical Church of England’s renderings are still in use among the orthodox.

                  There is not yet a fully functional (at least liturgically speaking) english-language Bible suitable for us orthodox, whose ‘Old Testament’ must be rendered from the Greek 70.

                  In the meantime, though, I can say for a fact that the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is far more accurate in its renderings of both hebrew and greek texts than anything else I’ve seen in a long time.

                  Still, we must acknowledge that the OCA’s bishops forbade the NRSV to be read during the services, mostly because of its commitment to ‘inclusive language’, whose use sometimes makes it impossible to see Christ in some ‘Old Testament’ texts. The bishops were right.

                  On the other hand, people who are well acquainted with biblical languages, and who are also able to use our contemporary language with precision, will easily be able to correct inappropriately inclusive language and also inappropriately exclusive language.

                  Our most commonly used english-language translations of the Divine Liturgy are full of both such sorts of mistakes, but almost nobody seems to recognize them or feel the need to correct them. I assure you, I do indeed know them and feel that need.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Thank you Monk James. I have always used the RSV with Expanded Apocrypha 1977 Edition, along with English Translations of the Septuagint (Brenton, Thompson, NETS, Apostolic Bible, Parallel Apocrypha & The Godspell Apocrypha) along with the various English Psalms based on the Septuagint (HTM, WORD smith LXX Psalms, The Septuagint Psalms & The CTOS Psalms of David). This is what Harakis &Hopko recommend.

                    Until we get a truly English translation of the bible that combines all of these, this is what we have to use. Ok all done.


                  • The Orthodox Study Bible translation of the OT doesn’t have much going for it in your opinion?

                    You might be interested in the Orthodox EOB project: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/eob/

                    I profited from a complete read through their translation of the NT based on the Patriarchal Text. inclusive language where properly called for was used. And they have two translations of the Lord’s Prayer – you might approve of one of them.

                    The OT translated from the LXX is in progress with the ambitious goal of documenting most variations from the Hebrew MT. It will be interesting to see that pulled off.

        • Thank you, Fr. Yousuf. If you could please just post a link to something here, that would be fine. What I have in mind is just a short intercessory prayer for one’s bishop that can easily be added to a prayer rule.

          There’s a prayer in the General Intercession (Antiochian pocket prayer book) that says “Be mindful, O Lord, of our [Bishop/Archbishop/Metropolitan] N., and of every Bishop of the Orthodox; of Priests and Deacons and all the Clergy of thy Church, which thou hast established to feed the flock of the Word; and by their prayers have mercy upon me and save me, a sinner.” However, I was hoping for something a little longer and more expressive.

    • George Michalopulos says

      RIAW, don’t go! You’re on a roll. If anything, you’ve crystallized my own rambling thoughts on what’s going on. Somebody needs to say it. Personally, I hope the NY/NJ plan goes into effecct and Syosset is strangled. I am outraged that Garklavs receives $140K. That’s unconscionable.

      • Word has it that Fr. Garklavs (and all the other Syosset officers) get paid more than the Metropolitan. Met. Jonah brought that up in his speech to the Synod in Santa Fe, when he said that the officers acted as if they had no accountability to the Metropolitan, and that one of the reasons for that was that they got paid more than he did. He was not whining that he wasn’t paid enough but basically asking the question, who’s really supposed to be in charge of things here?

  38. I wonder if Fr John Jillions shared all of his interests with the Metropolitan Council and with the Holy Synod.

    CHECK OUT HIS INTERESTS http://www.johnjillions.ca/interests.htm

    No wonder Stokoe likes him so much. Here we go again!

    • Monk James says

      This link doesn’t provide anything really scary — just an academic interest in examining contemporary issues which we must acknowledge and address and resolve. This is a good thing!

      • Yeah, including Fr. Jillions’ interest in so-called “sexual minorities”. Now re-read Metropolitan Jonah’s recent pastoral letter on marriage where he calls the so-called gay identity a sinful state of self-delusion. As Jacob said, no matter Stokoe likes Fr. Jillions so much!

        • Monk James says

          As Christians, we must deal with so-called ‘sexual minorities’ in a rational, compassionate, christian way — just as we must with larcenous minorities and murderous minorities: people who regularly commit crimes and sins of whatever sort are clearly operating outside our way of life, or at least the way of life to which we aspire. They are relatively very few among us, and they deserve our compassion more than our condemnation.

          Acknowledging this reality does not allow us to condemn them, but encourages us to be compassionate, and to love them enough that they repent.

          And if we fail to be compassionate, then it’s WE — not THEY — who ought to quit The Church, for we have failed to be christian. Classic patristic consensus tells us that The Church is the hospital where sinners may be healed. Who would deny people the healing they most need? Certainly not we Christians!

          This is not to be interpreted in any way as my/an approval of homosexuality or any other sinful way of life. This is merely my attempt to remind us that only Christ is the Judge Who will determine whether we will be sheep or goats on the last day.

          May the Lord forgive us our sins and be merciful to us all.

          • Well, Monk James, of course compassion is critical. Any Christian worth his salt would agree. However, we must not let “compassion” turn into encouraging people who suffer from same-sex attraction to embrace this as a personal identity and a “minority” issue. That’s not compassion, that’s sinful enabling.

            People may not choose to have same-sex inclinations, but they can certainly choose not to act on those inclinations or to pretend that it is part of their sense of self. As Metropolitan Jonah rightly pointed out, to embrace that identity is to consign oneself to a sinful state of self-delusion.

          • Brian McDonald says

            Re Monk James’s statement: “As Christians, we must deal with so-called ‘sexual minorities’ in a rational, compassionate, Christian way.” This is certainly true. I think there’s a temptation to treat someone else’s passion as though it was something they were willfully doing and could stop any old time if they’d only put their mind to it. We might not be able to quit overeating, or losing our temper; we might not be able to quit smoking, gossiping, gambling, drinking too much, or lusting after someone else’s spouse, etc. etc., but the other fellow, especially the one who struggles with a passion that isn’t our own—well, he’s just willfully and wickedly choosing to be bad.

            Having said that, I do think Fr. Jillion’s unassimilated adapting of the politically correct terminology of the academic left could be somewhat unsettling, even for those who are not naturally paranoid. For most of my academic colleagues, used to seeing everything in terms of identity politics, a phrase like “sexual minorities” has the following implication: it means those people who practice “alternative” sexual lifestyles. These lifestyles may be different but are perfectly healthy. To think otherwise—that is to assert this alternative lifestyle wrong in principle or a violation of moral law— is to be a bigot—much as one who rejects African American or Native American culture is a form of bigotry. And the biggest sin—perhaps the only sin people still consider sin—is to be a bigot and “judgmental.” That’s a pretty serious charge in the modern Academy—and other places.

            So why use this terminology when it’s likely to be construed in a manner the opposite than what the Church teaches about this particular passion—or indeed any of the passions?

    • Jane Rachel says

      It’s simple, isn’t it? I am just now beginning to see what is happening.

      Interests: “newness, change and reform within the Orthodox tradition.”

      WOW. They are out to take away Orthodoxy from the world. Thanks for this link. Things are becoming clearer and clearer. Goodbye, OCA, you will not be part of the Orthodox Church worldwide if these men are taking over. If the Orthodox Church wants “newness, change and reform within the Orthodox tradition” there will be no “Orthodox” Church left.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Dear Jane–Father Jillions is a college professor, possessor of an earned doctorate. Of course, he would be interested in newness, change and reform in the Orthodox Church. THe very fact that you and I, and George and Bishop Tikhon and others, are blogging away is indeed “newness”. The OCA Statute and the sobornost that it represents is “reform.” The novel claims of the EP are change from patristic ecclesiology. Hello, Jane; where have you been?

        • Jane Rachel says

          Everyone who reads these blogs knows what I mean. It’s so easy to read between the lines because it’s happened so many times before everywhere else. The “learned professors” know, dummy! If the people in power make the changes that the learned professor is talking about all the way to reality, the Orthodox Church will no longer be Orthodox. The words we say now will become meaningless. The Scriptures will have to be rewritten. It will become a hodge-podge of whatever people want it to be. The Church was not formed by “learned professors,” but the Holy Spirit revealed the FISHERMEN as “most wise”! Take away their clear, uncompromising voices and the straight lines of Orthodoxy will be cooked down by the learned professors into a bowl of mushy spaghetti. That’s what I’m concerned about.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Who exactly is NOT concerned? I think you are making a mountain of a molehill. Father Schmemann was condemned by the ‘pure” Orthodox for introducing the unheard of practice of frequent communion. Let me relate to you Orthodoxy 101: it cannot go against the Holy Scriptures as interpreted and practiced by the Church, particularly the Early Fathers. It is the most conservative of all churches; that is the principal reason why She has preserved the fullness of faith. Of course, She and we are under the assault of the Evil One. But, there is no need to panic, to see unorthodoxy behind every tree. We will not be a heterodox church. Period.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Unfortunately, ‘learned’ professors who frequent the company of atheists, agnostics and heretics as most do (and Fr. Jillions ‘interest’ in ecumenism suggests he does)–do not make the best leaders. The group think of academia is a compelling force for most folks involved in it. They do not want to be considered backward, anachronistic, etc. Such labels can also cost them their career in academia which many value more than adherence to Christ. They will give away the store and think they are doing a good thing.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Yes, that happens and perhaps too often (Just like in politics? In any case, folks are jumping to unwarranted conclusions. I would like to see examples of positions taken by Father Jillions that put him beyond the pale. And, I mean apart from what folks have put forth.

                As far as folks giving away the store while they think that they are doing a good thing, that seems to be a common phenomenon amongst some leaders. Examples that come to mind:

                – A protos of a local church volunteers to unilaterally to give away the autocephaly of his church for something called “maximal autonomy.”

                – The same protos unilaterally proposes fundamental changes to the governing structure of the church.

                – Another protos starts to interpret Canon 28 is such a way that he would in fact become the Pope of the East. Some of his representatives also talk to Rome as if he is the Pope’s counterpart.

                I guess three examples should be enough.

                • Carl, when did the “protos” in question talk about “maximal autonomy”? I believe you are confusing stories. It was the Romanians in North America who are being beguiled by Bucharest with talks of “maximal autonomy.” Not the OCA.

                  In addition, +Jonah –nor any other non-Phaniorte primate–have ever talke about Canon 28 and hence the need for having a “Pope fo the East.”

                  And again, +Jonah has never proposed a change to the governance of the OCA, unless you take it to mean that the bishops sitting in council should not rule the Church. If you mean that , then I will concede that you are right (although you would not be describing an Orthodox church at that point).

                  Your credibility suffers yet again. If you’re going to hold +Jonah in contempt, at least try to bring arguments forward which have some bearing on the case at hand.

                  • I am tired of this canard that Metropolitan Jonah has been trying to give away the OCA’s autocephaly. The only circumstance for which Met. Jonah has entertained the idea of going back under Moscow is in order to facilitate the establishment of a…

                    [Helga gets out a milkcrate to stand on and a bullhorn]


                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Regarding examples of heads of church who mean well but are in error, the last example indeed referred to the current EP. The first two examples clearly are regarding +Jonah, who erred in two ways: first, they were proposals that he made on his own without pre-coordinating with the Holy Synod, and second, they were on their merits.

                    1. Maximal autonomy. You are correct that the Romanians are currently entertaining such a status under Bucharest. One of the arguments is that only after each local “ethnic” church achieves maximal autonomy that we can finally move towards an administratively united, autocephalous Orthodox Church in the United States of America. Regarding whether +Jonah proposed it, Helga just confirmed it in the post immediately above. However, here are additional resources:

                    – The Holy Synod reaffirmed OCA’s autocephaly in December 2010. Why? Because, +Jonah was talking about maximal autonomy and getting really cozy with Moscow.

                    – Bishop Nikon told his own diocese the following shorthly before the Synodal encyclical: ““I will say that for the members of our Holy Synod, most if not all*, are not inclined to request maximal autonomy at this time but are open to (other) avenues to achieve true Orthodox unity in America. In my estimation, it is too early to make such a lateral move or change. We are from the beginning committed to Orthodox Unity in the United States; the road to achieving that reality should be explored over the next few years. …”

                    2. Regarding governance, I think you remember (we all do) when he proposed doing away with parish representation at the AAC. I remember it because I posted on OCAN in defense of the Metropolitan (I have since changed my mind). The point is that he has also claimed that the Holy Synod is subordinate to the Metropolitan and that the Statute, policies, etc.. are also of secondary importance to his own insights and policies. I would have no problem if he had these views and tried to persuade his fellow bishops to accept them. Then, they would all have come forward as a body, as the supreme canonical authority of the OCA, and presented that for our consideration. I have a huge issue when he acts as if he does not have obtain the consent of all, and yes George, he has violated that one provision of canon 34.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Rome Talked about the Papacy, Constandinople talks about Canon 28, The OCA talks about Autocephalacy, Protestants talk about Sola Scriptora, Liberals talk about Liberation Theology and Conservatives talk about wealth and prosperity. Yet, nobody talks about the Gospel of Christ.

                      See the problem?

                      Everybody hates the Ecumenical Patriarch, Everybody Hates Moscow, alot of people hate Met. Jonah. Yet, nobody talks about loving God with their whole being and loving their neighbor as themselves.

                      See the problem?

                      No matter what structure we have as a Church if it starts to run counter to the Gospel of Christ and makes people hatful and disrespectful I have no use for it. Never did and never will.

                      Everything but the Gospel is the problem. The Gospel of Christ IS and ALWAYS will be the solution.

                      I bid you peace. We all need it.


                    • Peter, truer words never spoken. Thank you for making possible what I’m gonna say next.

                      Carl, I guess you’ll never understand that if a church does not have love but only legalism then it is no longer a church and autocephaly means nothing. If the Holy Synod listens to the likes of you then the OCA will continue to wither as it has under the Helmsmen of our Decline (the Syosset/MC axis). Then when the last AAC meets someone will say “will that last bureaucrat in Syosset please turn out the lights when you leave?”

                      I heard a story recently about an elder in Greece who chastised someone who was going on and on about some principle. This elder slapped the man and said “remember, those who crucified our Lord thought that they were right as well.”

                      I don’t suppose in you hatred for +Jonah you’re ever gonna get the moral of that story.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      I could not reply directly, so here it goes out of sequence.

                      George, in response to my post above said: “Carl, I guess you’ll never understand that if a church does not have love but only legalism then it is no longer a church and autocephaly means nothing…I heard a story recently about an elder in Greece who chastised someone who was going on and on about some principle. This elder slapped the man and said “remember, those who crucified our Lord thought that they were right as well.” I don’t suppose in you hatred for +Jonah you’re ever gonna get the moral of that story.”

                      This is rich coming from you after youresorted to extreme legalism on the supposed irregular vetting, canonical release, reception, election and consecration of +Melchisedek. You savaged the man with mumbo jumbo, knowing full well that at worst some paperwork was messed up (and I am using your own sources). This is after you all savaged Father Jillions on other technicalities (related to Wheeler through his deceased wife, his interests include …scholarly pursuits). This is after y’all had savaged Father Oleksa, Bishop Benjamin, and all sorts of the enemies of the people, again mostly on legalistic grounds. Pot, meet kettle.

                      As for my supposed hatred of +Jonah, I have said it over and over again: I like the man, I am not giving up on him, I approve of the Holy Synod trying to salvage his metropolinate–I simply do not approve of some of the things that he has done and said. How is that hatred? Is loving the Church more than the Metropolitan hatred? Have I turned that coin on its other side and accused you or anybody else (except may be Father Fester by implication) of hating the Church?

                      But, the important thing for me is that y’all are reduced to the argument that +Jonah is trying to do the right thing, to live by Christian precepts. So what if he has made a few mistakes, you say, for his heart is in the right place. I will grant you that if you grant that those who are critical of him are also trying to do the right thing, to live by the Lord’s commandments.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Reading his words, knowing his connections, reading between the lines with a lifetime of knowledge behind me, I betcha my last two widow’s mites I’m right. They are making molehills out of mountains.

          • JR, if anybody wants to see what “erudition” and “higher learning” can do to a Christian sect, just look at Protestantism. Give me humble fishers of men who are walking the walk rather than PhD’s who attend all the “right” conferences any day of the week.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              One should always ask “PhD” from where? “PhD” in what? Academia and the fields of Social Work and Psychology are full of PhDs. When I went to college as long ago as the 50s, at Detroit’s Wayne State University (enrollment then only about 40,000), one had to have a doctorate to teach ANYTHING. German One. Psychology 101, you name it. Instructors, assistant, associate, and full professors, all had to have their doctorates. It’s much worse now, over six decades later. The bars for the granting of the doctorate are much lower. It’ resembles the situation in public schools where they had to abolish the title Valedictorian and Salutatorian, because there are too many people who have “the hghest” grades, thanks to parental insistence. PhDs are like lice, Honda Accords, whatever. Even with lowered standards it’s still a major achievement for those intellectually or scholastically challenged, One Orthodox Priest after finally earning his doctorate from Fordham, was so “maxed out” that after achieving it from the place, he had a nervous breakdown, losing the power of speech for a while! Who knows how to rate Fr. Jillions’s doctorate. Now Fr. Alexander Golitzin’s doctorate is an indubitable achievement and an indication of his great intellectual abilities and work ethic. He taught for a while at SVS, but found the atmosphere and conditions much more responsive to his erudition and piety at Marquette, in Wisconsin, where he’s been on the faculty for, lo, these many years. Whether or not he is approved by Mrs Steve Brown and associates should not enter into any evaluation of his possibilities. I can assure everyone that Father Alexander Golitzin is HIS OWN MAN.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Yes, it is true that not all terminal degrees are equal. In Fr Jillions’ case, he has a BA in Economics from McGill University, a Master of Divinity from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, a PhD in New Testament from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), and a Doctor of Ministry from St. Vladimir’s. I’d say that is quite impressive.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Carl, stop the Eddie Haskell bit. Brown-nosing is never attractive in a grown man.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I did not know what you meant by “the Eddie Haskell” bit, so I checked it out. In idiomatic usage it seems to indicate “… an archetype for insincere sycophants…He was known for his neat grooming — hiding his shallow and sneaky character. Typically, Eddie would greet his friends’ parents with overdone good manners and often a compliment such as, “That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing, Mrs. Cleaver” or “Hi, Mrs. Weber.” However, when no parents were around, Eddie was always up to no good — either conniving with his friends, or picking on Wally’s younger brother Beaver…”

                    Now, since I was in the military for so long, I know about brown nosing. Not a good thing, but a lot better than having one’s whole head up The One’s anal orifice, no?

                    So, in the Universe of Team Jonah, if you criticize somebody whom the Team likes, you are a hater; if you compliment somebody whom the Team opposes, you are a brown nosing Eddie Haskell. I tell you George, Mark Stokoe has never descended to this level of school yards antics; y’all have much in common with the yahoos that were running My Antiochian than OCAN.

                    In any case, I will cut to the chase and say this: +Jonah should resign as Metropolitan and return to being a pastoral type person, in some monastery somewhere. If he does not do so, the Holy Synod members should reach down between their legs, reassure themselves that they still have cojones and put him on indefinite leave. Enough is enough.

  39. I would like to draw everyone’s attention to Metropolitan Jonah’s book published by SVS Press. The biography section
    (pages 13-32) can be read for the most part in Amazon’s book preview. It’s really detailed and astonishing.

    • How many would think it’s a coincidence that Stan wrote all about this book the day after I posted it, that he would zero in on the 19 page biographical section out of a 200-page book, and even mention the Amazon book preview? A “friend” just happened to write in about it, right? A “friend” who, coincidentally, sounds exactly like Stan himself?

      Yesterday there were two new copies listed in the Amazon Marketplace. One of the sellers is one of the discount book dealers who gets a deal on books like that through bulk-buying and such, and then resells them at a discounted rate. The other listing was Amazon itself. I haven’t found any used copies of it available anywhere, like Half.com and the various book finder websites I used in college. What a shame!

  40. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    The man who repented of all canonical impediments was just elected to be a Bishop today.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Axios! Glory be to God!

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        No one is axios. Nevertheless, in the Orthodox Tradition, at ordinations to the Diaconate, the Priesbytery, and the Episcopate the cry “Axios” is prescribed to be uttered AFTER and only AFTER the laying on hands, because the cry, “Axios” is not a vote or a prerequisite to ordination. Rather, the Church beholding the miracle of an unworthy (in every case) man being elevated by The Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, and MIRACULOUSLY becoming thereby Axios. That is the reason the Church cries out AFTER the laying on of hands, “Axios!”
        If someone cries “Anaxios” at that point, that is a sin against the Holy Spirit Who completes all that is wanting.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Interesting twist and a very pretty one at that. Indeed, as ex post facto explanations go, this one is hard to beat. Silly my, I had thought that crying out “axios” was a vestige of the bad old days when the people could either say “axios” or “anaxios” before the laying of the hands. In any case, I applaud the decision of the Holy Synod and as a lay person concur with it. Axios, indeed!

          • Me too,,,Axios Axios Axios!

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            What Carl thought, that was a mistake.
            Elections by acclamation of the mob were outlawed very early in the Church, St. Ambrose of Milan was one of the last ones to be elected by that appalling process. It was a simple voice vote. Instead of “yea” or “nay” the director would name the candidates one after the other and then announce which one won (actually, whose supporters yelled the loudest) There was no provision for a head count or the submission of ballots. Ambrose, before his election, was a powerful municipal politician and through careful groundwork, preparation and other means to “get the vote out” with which New Yorkers are particularly familiar, he was declared the decisive winner. After that, he had to be ordained. During the rites of ordination one heard the cry “Axios” as soon as the ordaining Bishop (in the case of his ordination to deacon and priest) or Bishops (in the case of his ordination to Bishop) had completed the laying on of hands with the prayer, “The Grace Divine which always healeth the infirm and completes what is wanting, through the laying-on-of hands, elevated the most devout Ambrose to be a (Deacon, Priest, Bishop) After kyrie eleison was sung and a few more prayers, the ordinand would be allowed to stand erect whereupon the Bishop would exclaim “axios”. Then the clergy would exclaim “Axios” three times, then the people would exclaim “axios” three times and the ordinand would then be vested with the vestments proper to his office, and as each item would be put on him, the Bishop would exclaim “axios”, the clergy would sing it three times then the people.
            There is no moment, gap in time or appropriate time to exclaim “:Axios” before the actual laying on of hands. This, Carl, is not rocket science: you must realize that the guys who gave you that myth about declaring “axios” or “anaxios” before the laying on of hands obviously had an ideological purpose in doing so. For instead of the standard definition of “conciliar” as denoting “of or pertaining to a council”, the ideologues want it to mean some kind of corporate participation of “all estates’ or “all orders” or “clergy and people” etc., in everything important, especially decision making. False teaching about Conciliarity and”Axios”, like false teaching about “Command” is ubiquitous in a certain ideological corner of American Orthodoxy.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I do not about ideologies and other nefarious purposes. I had relied upon sources such as the following:

              Until the sixth century the clergy and the people elected the bishop on condition that the election should be approved by the neighbouring bishops.(Catholic Encyclopedia) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02581b.htm

              Election–In the Early Church, bishops were elected by the entire local church over which they were to preside. Bishops in neighboring dioceses would assemble the local clergy and laity, and all together would elect the new bishop. It should not be thought, however, that such elections were merely democratic—the emphasis was upon consensus rather than majority rule—and election by acclamation was not unheard of. In time, with the danger of so sacred an undertaking descending into base electoral politics, it became the custom for episcopal nominations to be performed by a Synod of bishops. (Wikipedia)

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Neither article contradicts what I wrote. “Consensus rather than majority rule?” What’s that, Carl?
                And I thought this expression was particularly piquant: “It should not be thought, however, that such elections were MERELY DEMOCRATIC….”
                No, Carl. The most Christian way to “elect” would be to throw all eligible candidates’ names into a box and then have somebody draw a name out. Such choice through “election by God” was followed by the First Council, the Apostolic Council, in Jerusalem, resulting in the “election ” of Matthias. Following that precedent, election by God, the All-Russian Council of 1917 had a senior monastic pick St; Tikhon’s name out of a box.
                I also liked the Wikipedia (who wrote it, Erickson or P. Meyendorff, I wonder?) understatement:: ‘and election by acclamation was not unheard of at the time.” I should say not!
                Origen opined in a letter that the churches received the leaders they deserved, they generally were more interested in rank and position than scholarship. He felt Moses was wise in selecting Joshua, ignoring his own two sons and family. He prayed for God’s sign and merely presented Joshua to the priests and the people as a foregone conclusion. There had been no scope, Origen wrote, for the people’s voice, which faction and bribery could corrupt, and no excuse for the intrigues of priests…..
                Sounds like Origen was in a situation not unlike ours!!!!

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  The practice of election by consensus surely is proven by the fact that the laos (clergy and laity together) could cry out “anaxios.” I have a hunch that the election was taken away from the laos and given to the bishops alone because the laity in general was displaced by the laity in particular–the local governors, who had the means to better control the election through the bishops behind closed doors rather than out in the open. I do not blame the Church andthe churchmen who went long with this; they all remembered what happened to saints who had bucked the system–St John Crysostom being an early and best example.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    The election of bishops was never “taken away” from the Laos. Bishops are part of the Laos: the part that oversees and that succeeds the Apostles; Presbyters are part of the Laos, the part that is ordained by the Bishops in their dioceses to stand and serve in their place, and to preside in their place at the Eucharist in particular; the Deacons are part of the Lao, the part that is ordained by the Bishops in their dioceses to serve AT the services as the main assistants to the Priest or Bishop; in fact, ALL baptized Orthodox Christians are members of the Laos. The Bishops are NOT outside the Laos. The Presbyters are NOT outside the Laos. The Deacons are NOT outside the Laos. SOME of the Laos, but not all of them, may participate in the election of Bishops.
                    Liturgical theology indicates that there is NOW, that is in the Living Holy Tradition (not reminiscences of dead practice and practices ) of the Church, NO place for Orthodox Christians to cry out anything during any services at all, saving only Christ is risen! The ohly place where the cry, Axios, is to be found in the Living Holy Tradition is AFTER the laying-on-of-hands. Whoever says in regard to his or any other former practices of the Church which have NOT been passed on, received, that they are Tradition is making a false statement. There is no such thing as dead tradition. What is NOT continued, passed on is not traditiion nor is it traditional. To advocate practicing dead traditions is the essence of reform, of protestantism, renovationism.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      I meant “laos as a whole” as it is clear in context. Please forgive my sloppy writing. Regarding your statement that “what is NOT continued, passed on is not tradition nor is it traditional,” Your Grace what would you make of the practice of frequent communion by the laity, surely not an inconsequential practice? It was apparently the norm in the beginning and was changed over time to infrequent communion, finally by the grace of God, the promptings of father Alexander Schmemann of Thrice Blessed Memory and the decision of the Holy Synod, the earliest practice returned. When exactly did infrequent communion become tradition and then non-tradition? Was Father Schmemann and other Orthodox theologians were wrong to “advocate practicing dead traditions”?

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Neither frequent nor infrequent participation in the Mysteries of Christ is outside Holy Tradition. it is the participation, not frequency or infrequency that is Holy Tradition.
                      I think Carl’s questions are just argumentative and not serious. I might ask, in the same spirit, “When did Orthodox Christians start partaking of the Mysteries of Christ because they thought they were “SUPPOSED TO?” When did That become an obligation and a source of the delusion that the more often one communes the closer one resembles the early Christians?
                      No, “habitual” Communion is much worse than infrequent Communion with awe.
                      As Father Alexander himself said, “You can make a slogan out of anything–even the Eucharist!”

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      His Grace said: “it is the participation, not frequency or infrequency that is Holy Tradition.” If that is the case, I then wonder why the election of bishops by the ENTIRE laos is not also Holy Tradition, with the participation of the laity observed at some but not all times. Same fundamental question for married bishops, as neither of the two canons of the Council in Trullo did away with married bishops, they just made sure that the married couple would not live together–that is the married bishop would henceforth be married in principle but not in fact. So, if we are to proceed from the principles that underlie our praxis, we could say that Holy Tradition contains the principles but not necessarily their applications at various times.

                      All of this brings up the question of what is indeed Holy Tradition? Is it necessary or desirable to distinguish between Holy Tradition with a capital “T” as opposed to pious customs or traditions with a small “t”? Or, is it “monkey see, monkey do” advocated by those who accept everything as Holy Tradition with a capital “T”?

                      If one subscribes to the second approach, then there would be no real need for learned priests, knowledgeable laity or even theologians; one would need only a detailed cathechesis and rubric issued by one’s bishop and then we would all strive to fulfill our primary and only function of pay, pray and obey.

                      On the other hand, if there is indeed truth to the distinction of Tradition from pious custom, then we would have to approach our faith differently. We would need to consider the thorny question of whether the Holy Spirit has protected us from ourselves as we changed Apostolic practice or if the Holy Spirit guided and directed us. Or, it could be a mixture of the two. Then there is the question of relative authority within Holy Tradition: What is the bedrock, the start of the “rule”, the most defining source? I would think that the Holy Scriptures occupy that unique position, followed by those witnesses closest to the source, with the understanding that the early Church Fathers and praxis was the most faithful, as befits an Apostolic Church.

                      I am not arguing that current beliefs and praxis are radically different from those of the most faithful, early Church. I am saying that the questioning attitude of theologians like Father Schmemann is useful in ferreting out harmful foreign influences that have crept into Orthodoxy. One thinks of the corrosive influences of the Roman Catholic scholars in the Russian Church or of the Lutherans in the Greek (national) Church. Both were countered by appeal to the Church fathers and the earlier the better. father Alexander also used our liturgical deposit to find the answers (note the early date of the Liturgies that we use today).

                      Finally if it is the case that we are all called to be watchful for false teachers and teachings, how can we do so if we proceed from the status quo? Again in the matter of frequent communion, it was indeed the infrequency by the laity that so scandalized Father Schmemann, who flat out campaigned against what he felt to be an profoundly flawed practice. He was indeed not a “monkey see, monkey do” member of the Laos.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Carl exclaims: “If one subscribes to the second approach, then there would be no real need for learned priests, knowledgeable laity or even theologians; one would need only a detailed cathechesis and rubric issued by one’s bishop and then we would all strive to fulfill our primary and only function of pay, pray and obey. ”
                      One need not subscribe to any “approach” at all, only, rather the Holy Tradition, in which we meet the ONE thing Needful, Jesus Christ. Yes, Carl, the Church, Jesus Christ, needs NOTHING at all. The Church, Jesus Christ, does not need learned priests, knowledgeable ‘laity’ or theologians at all. Face it! It is we, the Laos who need the Church. Archbishop Dmitri once told me, “Stephen, I make it a practice never to thank the choir or the clergy. Thanking them feeds the illusion that they are needed by the Church. No, it is they who need the Church.”
                      Carl thinks we have a function (!) and that it is not “pay, pray, and obey.” The Gospel requirements, that is, the requirements of Holy Tradition,are: “Pray, fast, and give alms.” Orthodox Christians have proceeded to transfiguration and deification for centuries, even in villages and hamlets where the clergy could barely read and where they were never told that they were “wrong” in not communing frequently.
                      The All-Holy Theotokos was not invited to the Eucharist. What does that tell you?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      “The All-Holy Theotokos was not invited to the Eucharist. What does that tell you?”

                      I am left speechless and must withdraw from the discussion. I just wish that when I get to be your age, i will be as sharp as you are. Many Years, Vladika.

  41. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    False conciliarity was what confronted Moses when he came down from the mountain with the tablets of the law: The conciliarity of Aaron and vox populi vox dei met him defiantly with their gold calf.

  42. V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

    Your Grace,Bishop Tikhon,
    Master,Bless!Thank you for sharing the words of Archbishop Dmitr,whose 40th day we commemorate today. My spiritual father,the late Hieromonk Kallistos used to tell parishoners,”The Church is not a beggar of souls.The Church doesn’t need you,you need the church.”
    After my wife Olga reposed,well-meaning people would say things like,”God took her because HE needs good people.”No doubt,my wife was probably a better person than I’ll ever be;I’m sure HE took her not only to give her eternal rest,but as a reminder to me to get my spiritual act together,something that I’m still working on!

  43. G K COmney says

    Chrysustolm Homily I on I Timothy I: “Questioning is the subversion of faith.”

    You guys can try to talk around his anti-Semitism, but this quote
    proves the dark evil inside the man who wrote your liturgy.
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine
    They said you all were Christian, buddy that was just a lie
    Called you all Christian, that was just a lie
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine
    They said you all were Christian, buddy that was just a lie
    Called you all Christian, that was just a lie
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    You ain’t nothing but a muslim, spewing crap with slime
    Go crawl into the habit of your abbott, you ain’t no citizen of mine

  44. Carl Kraeff says

    I do not wish to restart the largely unpleasant discussion on the DC Nuns and am writing this strictly as information.

    Reading the latest batch of official OCA Clergy/Parish changes, it occurred to me that there was no mention of the DC Nuns being transferred to ROCOR. So, I checked the archives for any entry about this community being received and/or released. I could not find any; it appears that they were never received in the first place.

    • That doesn’t mean they weren’t received, Carl, or that their reception is not canonical. They only just now got around to announcing Fr. Gerasim Eliel’s reception into the OCA, even though that happened more than two years ago!

      I wonder, has anyone ever bothered tracking down this nameless “Greek bishop”, who has supposedly had his authority trodden upon by Metropolitan Jonah and now Metropolitan Hilarion? What does Mystery Bishop have to say? Does he actually say the women left him uncanonically?

      Why are people so anxious to defend Dhespota Ioannes Doe, whose honor may not actually have been offended at all, while cheerfully ignoring flagrantly unethical actions that undeniably happened right in front of them, like Metropolitan Jonah having his emails and SMS text messages stolen and published without his knowledge or consent?

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I am not going to speculate. I think we can safely say that if something did happen, it has not been officially recorded yet. BTW, I also noticed the tardiness in recording the reception of Father Gerasim. I suppose we may have to wait another two years regarding the DC Nuns.

  45. This article is the story of the North AMerican Metropolia/OCA in a nutshell, from day one …
    self-will over any canonical regulations, dogmatic formulations, or jurisdictional manifestations …
    from Met Platon to Bp Melchisedek, and in between … self will has ruled! Same as in the “Paris Jurisdiction” – it was learned there by rthe “leading lights” of the OCA, and learned well!

  46. cynthia curraWen says

    Biship Tikhon mentioning about St Theodora. Ancient sources that back the common held belief-Procopius Secret Histroy and one small referance to Theodora by John of Ephesus who liked Theodora he uses the Greek expression from the brothel over a syriac text which has been debated for probably 200 years whether its correct or was added later. Other sources like John Malalas no mention of the actress background. Evagrius Scholastiucs who has somewhat of a favor opinion of Theodora being generious to those that supported Chalcedon. Evagrius disliked Justinian as much as Procopius did, so this statemen is in Theodora’s favor. Michael the Syrian has the cleaner verison of Justinian meeting her in the east on campaign around the 9th century I believe..